Jo Cox MP dies after attack in Birstall

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Labour MP, Jo Cox. Source: The Independent

Police have confirmed that Jo Cox, the 41-year-old Labour MP for Batley and Spen, has died following an attack outside a library in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Ms Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times outside of Birstall Library after holding an advice surgery for her constituents. She was lifted to Leeds General Infirmary where she received medical attention.

A 52-year-old man was arrested shortly after the incident earlier this afternoon. West Yorkshire Police reported that another man in his late 40s to early 50s was left with slight injuries following the attack.

Ms Cox was elected as MP for Batley and Spen in last year’s general election, and was a popular MP among her constituency and in Parliament.

Ms Cox had held many important roles before entering politics. The Independent reported that she was former Head of Humanitarian Campaigning for Oxfam, as well as being the National Chair of the Labour Women’s network. Ms Cox also worked with many notable charities, such as Save the Children and The Freedom Fund, an anti-slavery charity.

Tributes from British politicians and charities have been pouring in for Ms Cox. Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, wrote a statement on his Facebook page following the news of Ms Cox’s death:

“The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family – and indeed the whole country – will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.

Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.

Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP. 

Jo Cox died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.”

The MP’s husband, Brendan Cox, has also issued a statement following the death of his wife. He said, “Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full”:

“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.

Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”

Police are still investigating the motives behind the attack and alleged reports that the suspect was heard shouting, “Britain First.”

Jo Cox leaves behind two children and a husband. In an obituary by The Independent, Ms Cox was described as being, “an independent-minded spirit” who will be remembered for “putting her principles before traditional party politics.”

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Charlotte Williams

Second year student at York studying Politics. I am one of two Comments and Politics Editors for 2016/2017.