A Labour MP has died after she was shot three times and repeatedly stabbed in a shocking attack as she arrived at her constituency surgery. Mother-of-two Jo Cox, 41, was airlifted to hospital after a gunman opened fire on her in Birstall near Leeds. Witnesses said the man was at the office before she arrived and shot her three times, once in the head, before stabbing her as she lay on the ground.
Her husband Brendan tweeted a photo of his wife two hours after she died from catastrophic injuries. A 53-year-old – named locally as gardener Tommy Mair – has been arrested by police and his house is currently being searched by forensic experts.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across Parliament. ‘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.
David Cameron added: ‘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.’ Campaigning for the EU referendum by Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave has been suspended for the day after the attack.
The gun — outlawed in Britain since the 1996 Dunblane school massacre in Scotland — has been described as “makeshift.” Keep in mind that early reports, especially by eyewitnesses, are often inaccurate and unreliable, but this, if true, will have lasting political resonance in the run-up to Britain’s plebiscite on leaving the EU — “Brexit” — on June 23:
Aamir Tahir, of The Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting ‘Britain first’. He said: ‘The lady I work with heard two loud bangs. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him. Apparently the guy who did it shouted ‘Britain first’ and if I had been there I would have tackled him.’ Britain First is the name of a far-Right group which said it was ‘not involved and would never encourage behaviour of this sort’.
Recent polls have shown British public opinion tilting in favor of the “Leave” movement; Ms. Cox was a supporter of “Remain.”
Public opinion in Britain has swung sharply in favor of quitting the European Union, according to a poll published exactly one week before the country’s historic referendum. An Ipsos MORI poll published Thursday in London’s Evening Standard newspaperfound 53 percent of Brits now want to leave the trade and customs bloc — a so-called “Brexit” — with 47 percent wanting to remain a member, excluding ‘Don’t Knows’.
It comes two days after a similar poll in The Times also put the “Leave” side ahead for the first time, overturning what had previously been a steady lead for the “Remain” campaign.