MPs are launching a commission to tackle the "silent epidemic" of loneliness across the UK in honour of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.

Mrs Cox was in the process of establishing the commission when she was killed outside her constituency last June.

The cross- party 'Jo Cox Commission' will look for practical solutions to reduce the impact of loneliness on both individuals.

The latest research has found that more than a fifth of the British population privately admit they are "always or often lonely".

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But just two thirds of those people would never confess to suffering from loneliness in public.

MPs, policy makers and thirteen leading organisations will come together for the launch in parliament today. The commission will also hand out "happy to chat" badges on the Tube this morning in a bid to tackle loneliness.

The event is being hosted in the official residence of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who has described the late Labour MP as "quite outstanding".

MPs will also be joined by Mrs Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, and her husband, Brendan.

Speaking before the launch, Ms Leadbeater said: "Jo was a doer, not a complainer. We want to continue that legacy by ridding society of loneliness one conversation at a time."

In a joint statement, the commission's co-chairwomen, Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Conservative Seema Kennedy, called for a "national conversation" to highlight the scale of the problem.

They said: "Loneliness is a silent epidemic across the UK. Now is the time to break that silence by starting a conversation. We need a national conversation about the scale and impact of the problem."

Researchers have said loneliness raises the risk of stroke significantly and should be treated as a public health problem like smoking or overeating.

The Commission will be working throughout 2017 "to shine a light on different aspects of loneliness and the positive steps we can all take to combat it."

This article was originally published by The Telegraph here.