THE sister and parents of murdered MP Jo Cox yesterday urged students in Bradford to speak out against hate crime.

The family embraced each other as Bradford College’s cafe was renamed in Mrs Cox’s honour.

Sister Kim Leadbeater, who was a sports lecturer at the college for 11 years, told students and staff: “Jo’s murder changed our lives for ever.”

But she said that while people couldn’t choose what happened to them, they could choose their response and her family had decided to focus on taking positive action, because “that’s what Jo would want”.

She said she hoped students coming to the cafe would do something similar, using it as a place to plan ways to change society for the better.

She said: “Come to the Jo Cox cafe, but don’t sit and be sad about what happened. Come here and create something positive because that’s exactly what my sister would have wanted.”

Ms Leadbeater, of Gomersal, discussed new crime statistics, published yesterday, which showed a 29 per cent rise in hate crime in a year across England and Wales.

She said: “Our society at the moment feels quite fractured. It feels divided.”

Speaking afterwards to the Telegraph & Argus, Ms Leadbeater said she wanted society to “move beyond tolerance” and really embrace people’s differences.

Mrs Cox’s father, Gordon Leadbeater, of Roberttown, Liversedge, said some of the rise in reported hate crime could be due to people feeling more comfortable going to the authorities, which he described as “a positive change”.

And mother Jean Leadbeater said they wanted to continue driving home the message that people should report hate crime where they see it.

Mr Leadbeater said: “We are hanging together because we are looking at the future, and how we can make a difference. It’s about the younger generation, and that of course includes Jo’s children, who are a big inspiration for us.”

The decision to rename the cafe in Mrs Cox’s honour came from the college’s social work society.

One of the society’s two presidents, student Helen Routledge, said one of the big issues they wanted to tackle was a rise in hate crime, particularly against women.

She said: “We thought about renaming the cafe in Jo Cox’s honour because she was killed because she was a successful, influential, independent woman.

“We want people to walk past the cafe and remember what she stood for and why she was killed.”

A short film, urging people to stand up against hate crime, was played for the first time at the event.

The film was paid for by West Yorkshire Police’s Safer Communities Fund and created by Little Germany-based School of Rock and Media.