GIBRALTAR (JUNE 16, 2016) (UK POOL) – A British member of Parliament was shot dead in the street in northern England on Thursday (June 16), causing deep shock across Britain and the suspension of campaigning for next week’s referendum on the country’s EU membership.
Jo Cox, 41, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party and vocal supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union, was attacked as she prepared to hold a meeting with constituents in Birstall near Leeds.
Media reports said she had been shot and stabbed.
West Yorkshire Police said a 52-year-old man was arrested by officers nearby and weapons including a firearm recovered. The motive for the attack was not immediately known.
“She was a bright star, no doubt about it, a star for her constituents, a star in parliament and a star right across the house and we have lost a star,” the Conservative prime minister said. “Above all ll I am thinking of her husband Brendan, the children, the family and her constituents who will be feeling this huge sense of loss tonight and I think it’s right we stop the campaigning activity, think of them and think of what they’ve lost.”
British lawmakers are not in parliament ahead of the June 23 referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU.
The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day and Cameron said he would pull out of a planned rally in Gibraltar, the British territory on the southern coast of Spain.
British Home Secretary, Theresa May, also paid her respects to Cox saying she was one of the “brightest” and “most popular” colleagues at Westminster.
“This is a dreadful event and my heart goes out to Jo Cox’s husband Brendan, their two children, her family and friends. The pain they must now be enduring is unimaginable and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time. It is entirely appropriate that all campaigning for the referendum has been suspended.
Cox, a Cambridge University graduate, spent a decade working in a variety of roles with aid agency Oxfam, including head of policy, head of humanitarian campaigning based in New York and head of its European office in Brussels.
She was known for her work on women’s issues, and won election for Labour in northern England’s Batley and Spen district at the 2015 general election.
Fellow lawmakers from several parties expressed their horror at the attack, praising Cox as a rising star of politics.