As MLAs met for the first time since the shock attack last Thursday, Mr Ford described the MP for Batley and Spen as an ‘exceptional person’.
David Ford MLA said: “We were all shattered last Thursday to hear, firstly the news of the attack, and then sadly that sombre statement from the police confirming she had died.
“In the aftermath it has become clear that Jo Cox was much more than an MP, but a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend and someone who touched the hearts of many in her wider circle and among her constituents.
“We remember her as a courageous, passionate and committed MP and campaigner, who after undertaking a career helping some of the world’s poorest people, returned home to serve those in the constituency in which she placed her roots.
“In honouring her memory, we must follow the words of her husband Brendan and unite against the hate that killed her.”