A 41-year-old British woman MP from the opposition Labour Party was today killed after being reportedly shot and stabbed in her constituency in northern England, a week before the crucial referendum on UK’s EU membership.
Labour MP Jo Cox was holding a meeting with constituents, in her local constituency when an altercation reportedly led to the attack. Cox was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary, where armed police stood guard while medical experts tried to save her life inside.
Another man, in his 70s, was also injured in the attack and is also being treated for his wounds, which are said to be non-life threatening. A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “We are sad to confirm that Jo Cox died from the injuries she sustained in the attack today.”
“We urge any eyewitnesses who were in the area to come forward and help us with our inquiries to establish actually what exactly happened,” the spokesperson added. West Yorkshire Police confirmed a 52-year-old man has been
arrested. Weapons, including a firearm, have been seized from the man.
“We are not looking for anyone else in relation to this tragic incident,” the spokesperson said. The arrested man has been locally named as Tommy Mair but there is no confirmation on the motive or the exact nature of the attack, with some local witnesses describing hearing gun-shots while others saying it was a stabbing incident.
Sanjeev Kumar, an Indian-origin shopkeeper from the area, told BBC: “She was lying on the pavement and bleeding a lot. Someone had already called for an ambulance by the time I got to the scene”. The local community is to hold a vigil in Cox’s memory at the local church in Birstall.
She is survived by her husband and two children. Cox retained the Batley and Spen constituency for the Labour party in the 2015 General Election and has been in Parliament for just over a year.
READ MORE | Tributes pour in for Labour MP Jo Cox
She was due to celebrate her 42nd birthday next Wednesday and had been spoken of as a future minister for the Labour party due to her reputation as a strong politician and plain speaker.
As a sign of respect, both sides campaigning for next Thursday’s European Union (EU) – Britain Stronger in Europe
and Vote Leave – announced they would suspend their campaign for today.
– She attended Cambridge University, becoming the first in her family to attend university, graduating in 1995.
– Cox worked in North Carolina on U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, as well as working in Brussels for Member of the European Parliament Glens Kinnock.
– She also worked in senior roles for aid agency Oxfam, and later on a campaign to prevent deaths in childbirth with Sarah Brown, the wife of former British prime minister Gordon Brown.
– Following her election to parliament in 2015, Cox was outspoken in support of Britain’s membership of the European Union.
“Responsible debate is paramount,” she wrote on her website at the start of the referendum campaign in February. “I fear, however, that we won’t get it. What I do know is that Britain should be engaged and leading in Europe not disengaged and waving goodbye.”
– In her first speech after becoming an MP she praised the positive impact immigration has had on her constituency, Batley and Spen, a semi-rural area near the city of Leeds in northern England that has seen high levels of immigration from South Asia.
– Cox co-chaired a parliamentary group “Friends of Syria”. The group’s stated aim is: “To build a greater understanding in Parliament of the current conflict in Syria and to allow parliamentarians to discuss the diplomatic, humanitarian and military options for UK policy.”
In May this year, she criticised Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama for putting the Syrian civil war “on the ‘too difficult’ pile.” She abstained in a December 2015 vote on whether to approve air strikes in Syria.
LABOUR LEADER JEREMY CORBYN
– Cox was one of the 36 Labour Members of Parliament who nominated Socialist Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader after the resignation of Ed Miliband following the party’s defeat in last year’s general election. She later voted for a different candidate and in May this year criticised the party’s performance in local elections.