Jo Cox has died after being shot and stabbed in Birstall, Leeds (Picture: PA)
Labour MP Jo Cox has died after she was shot outside a library in Birstall by a man allegedly shouting ‘Britain First’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the country would be ‘in shock at the horrific murder’ of MP Jo Cox, who was a ‘much loved colleague’.
Witnesses said the 41-year-old was kicked by her attacker as she lay on the floor and that she was shot repeatedly. It’s also believed she was stabbed and dragged along by her hair.
The Batley and Spen MP was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary and a 52-year-old man has been arrested. The man who was arrested was today locally named as ‘loner’ Tommy Mair.
Clarke Rothwell, who runs a cafe nearby told the Telegraph: ‘He was stabbing her with a foot-long knife multiple times while shouting “Britain first, Britain first, Britain first”.’
This afternoon another witness said they saw a pool of blood and she had blood on her face.
Cafe owner Clarke Rothwell said: ‘He shot this lady once and then he shot her again, he fell to the floor, leant over shot her once more in the face area.’
Shoes, a handbag and a jacket at the scene of the shooting (Picture: LNP)
Others have suggested she was intervening in a scuffle when she was attacked.
The mother of two, who has recently spoken about voting to stay in Europe, has been a Member of Parliament since the last General Election. This afternoon both Vote Leave and Stronger In suspended their campaigns.
Britain First said in a statement: ‘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.’
A man is arrested near the scene
Tommy Mair has been identified as the man arrested this afternoon by police
Eyewitness Hithem Ben Abdallah, 56, was in the cafe next door to the library shortly after 1pm when he heard screaming and went outside.
He said: ‘There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.’
He added: ‘He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor.’
After around 15 minutes, the shop owner said emergency services arrived and tended to her with a drip.
This afternoon her husband tweeted a picture of her next to the Thames where they live on a river boat.
Police set up cordons in the area around the shooting in Birstall (Picture: SWNS)
A restaurant owner told the Dewsbury Reporter: ‘I saw a river of people rushing down the hill. They were screaming – and pulling something behind a car.My hubby @MrBrendanCox & children taking part in the battle of the #Thames - because we're #StrongerIn #Remain pic.twitter.com/6JNMnQ4Zfg— Jo Cox MP (@Jo_Cox1) June 15, 2016
‘A lady was down on the floor. The man pulled a gun – it was a makeshift gun, not like something you see on television.
‘After the second shot I turned and ran. He walked away very calmly, down the steps. Nobody stopped him – he had a gun.’
.@BorisJohnson are you proud of your campaign now?— tb (@TimBendover) June 16, 2016
Very concerned about reports Jo Cox has been injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jo and her family.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 16, 2016
Terrible, terrible news. Thoughts and prayers with good friend Jo & with her family https://t.co/mlTZiUeuSw— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) June 16, 2016
Jo Cox is a genuinely nice, smart and engaging MP I do hope she's Ok— Giles Dilnot (@reporterboy) June 16, 2016
Profile: Jo Cox MP
In Parliament for little over a year, Jo Cox has already carved out a reputation as a plain speaker and solid operator.
Relatively young by political standards, Ms Cox is due to celebrate her 42nd birthday next Wednesday, and has been spoken of as a future Minister.
Ms Cox is a Remain supporter in the referendum and both official campaigns have suspended their operations as a mark of respect following the attack on her.
The MP for Batley and Spen, who is married with two children, graduated from Cambridge University in 1995 and went on to be head of policy for Oxfam, and work as an adviser for former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown’s wife, Sarah, and Baroness Kinnock.
Ms Cox has been a vocal advocate for the victims of the Syrian civil war and is chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of Syria group.
The MP abstained in last autumn’s contentious vote on allowing British military action in Syria, insisting a more wide-ranging attempt at a solution to the conflict was needed.