Jo Cox, Labour Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire, was murdered today after attending a constituency meeting in the town of Birstall. She is the first MP to have been killed in office since Ian Gow was murdered in 1990 by a bomb placed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
At this stage, details are unclear but it is known that Cox was ‘shot three times and stabbed with a foot-long knife’, and left for dead. Eyewitness reports have claimed that the attacker, locally identified as Thomas ‘Tommy’ Mair, kicked her and dragged her by her hair whilst she was on the ground. There have also been eyewitness reports of Mair allegedly shouting “Britain first” as he left her, which may be a reference to the far-right political party. These are of dubious veracity, however, as reports from other eyewitnesses say they did not hear these words.
Britain First themselves have denied this, publishing a statement saying,
“A single eyewitness claimed (unconfirmed) that the assailant “apparently” shouted “Britain First” during the attack, but this is pure hearsay at the moment. There is lots of use of words such as “apparently” and “allegedly”. That hasn’t stopped the media publishing multiple articles condemning Britain First for somehow being involved. Britain First obviously is not involved and would never encourage behaviour of this sort. As an MP and and a mother, we pray that Jo Cox makes a full recovery.”
West Yorkshire Police have not yet named the attacker, but confirmed that a 52-year old male has been arrested.
Her death was confirmed at the scene at 1:48PM on Thursday 16th June by doctors at the scene of the incident.
West Yorkshire Police Acting Chief Constable Dee Collins has appealed for witnesses of this ‘terrible’ case, saying,
“This is a very significant investigation with large numbers of witnesses that have been spoken to by police at this time.
“There is a large and significant crime scene and there is a large police presence in the area.
“A full investigation is under way to establish the motive for this attack.”
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said,
“Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve.
“In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died.
“But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said,
“The death of Jo Cox is a tragedy. She was a committed and caring MP. My thoughts are with her husband Brendan and her two young children.”
Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said,
“Absolutely devastating news about Jo Cox. Truly dreadful. One of the brightest and best of the new MPs and a great loss to the country.”
As a mark of respect, both the Remain and Leave have suspended their campaigns for the day.
Cox leaves behind a husband, Brenden, and two children. A 77-year old male has also been injured in the attack but it is understood that his wounds are not life-endangering.