UK: MP Cox, who opposed "Brexit" and supported refugee reception, has been murdered
British Labour MP Jo Cox, who strove to see Britain remain in the European Union, has been murdered in her electoral district. Police quickly arrested the man suspected of committing the attack.
Campaigning on both sides of the "Brexit" issue was cancelled yesterday due to the attack and Prime Minister David Cameron called off his planned speech in favor of remaining in the EU. British and world politicians condemned the crime and expressed their condolences to Ms Cox's surviving family members.
Ms Cox was apparently attacked by an assailant from the northern English town of Birstall near Leeds. According to eyewitnesses quoted by the BBC, a "man in a white baseball cap" shot the MP a total of three times.
The man is said to have then drawn a knife and stabbed Ms Cox several times. A doctor pronounced her dead roughly 45 minutes later.
According to local police, a 77-year-old man also suffered injuries during the attack but is now in stable condition. Police officers arrested the 52-year-old man considered to be the attacker shortly after the incident.
According to a police spokesperson, detectives are not investigating anybody else and have refused to speculate as to the motivation for the crime. The British media has reported that other residents of Birstall have identified the suspect as Tommy Mair.
Mair has been described as a "quiet" man who frequently aided locals with gardening. Several British media outlets reported that eyewitnesses heard him shout "Britain First", the name of an ultra-right, xenophobic group in favor of "Brexit", during the attack.
The vice-chair of that movement, Jayda Fransen, has rejected speculation that her organization might have anything to do with the crime, which she called "absolutely disgusting". Ms Cox had campaigned for the country to remain in the EU during the upcoming referendum.
Her husband, Brendan Cox, said his wife would want two things now, "for our dear children to be surrounded by love" and "for us all to unite in the struggle against the hatred that has killed her". He also said that "Hatred knows no race, religion or worldview, it is poison."
Campaigns on both sides of the upcoming referendum cancelled all of their planned events yesterday because of the attack. Those opposed to Brexit also cancelled their planned events for today.
Cameron had been scheduled to speak in Gibraltar in favor of the country's EU membership but then canceled the event. He called the death of the MP a "tragedy".
"She was a caring, determined MP. My thoughts are with her husband Brendan and their two children," he Tweeted.
Jeremy Corbyn, chair of the opposition Labour Party, of which Ms Cox was a member, also expressed his horror over her murder. "Hatred does not solve problems, Jo believed that," he said.
The murder of Ms Cox was condemned by all leading British politicians. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it a "devastating blow to our democracy".
The former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who is one of the main faces of the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, said the MP's murder had left him "sad and in shock". A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth was sending her personal condolences to the deceased's husband.
The murder was also condemned by politicians worldwide. According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, this murder was an attack on all who believe in democracy.
The French and German governments have also sent their condolences to Ms Cox's husband and children. Former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a similar assassination attempt in 2011, said she was horrified by the news of Ms Cox's murder.
Ms Cox is the first member of the British Parliament to have been murdered in office since Ian Gow was murdered in 1990 by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, a terrorist organization. She was 41 years old.
Ms Cox had previously worked for the British charity organization Oxfam, where she was involved in a broad range of campaigns concerning, for example, preventing maternal death in childbirth, and she visited countries afflicted by natural catastrophes and wars. She also collaborated with the wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the humanitarian organization Save the Children.
In 2015 she was elected to the lower house of the British Parliament for the Batley and Spen district in her native county of West Yorkshire. Last December she was one of five MPs to abstain from voting to expand British airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State in Syria.
She was born on 22 June 1974 in Batley. She graduated with a degree in political and social studies from Pembroke College at Cambridge.
Ms Cox was married to Brendan Cox, who is also involved in the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. She had two children.
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