Jo Cox MP death: David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn unite in tributes

Media captionDavid Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn laid flowers in tribute to Jo Cox in her constituency of Batley and Spen

David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn have united to condemn the killing of MP Jo Cox as an “attack on democracy”.

Speaking alongside the prime minister in Mrs Cox’s West Yorkshire constituency, Labour leader Mr Corbyn said Parliament would be recalled on Monday, and labelled the attack “an act of hatred”.

Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed in the street as she headed to a scheduled constituency surgery on Thursday.

A 52-year-old man has been arrested.

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Sian Davies

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Flowers and candles have been laid in Parliament Square

The visit came as the Conservatives, Lib Dems and UKIP all announced they would not contest the by-election resulting from her death.

Joined by Commons Chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn and Commons Speaker John Bercow, the prime minister and the Labour leader bowed their heads as they laid bouquets in Birstall.

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The prime minister’s tribute included a message which described Mrs Cox as ‘a passionate MP and campaigner’

Mr Corbyn said he had asked for Parliament to be recalled to enable politicians to pay tribute to the Labour MP “on behalf of everybody in this country who values democracy… free from the kind of brutality that Jo suffered.”

He added: “Jo was an exceptional, wonderful, very talented woman, taken from us in her early 40s when she had so much to give and so much of her life ahead of her.

“It’s a tragedy beyond tragedy what happened yesterday.

“In her memory, we will not allow those people that spread hatred and poison to divide our society, we will strengthen our democracy, strengthen our free speech.”

Vote Leave and Remain have both suspended campaigning in the EU referendum in light of the attack.

Mr Cameron said: “Where we see hatred, where we find division, where we see intolerance we must drive it out of our politics and out of our public life and out of our communities.

“If we truly want to honour Jo, then what we should do is recognise that her values – service, community, tolerance – the values she lived by and worked by, those are the values that we need to redouble in our national life in the months and years to come.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow described her as an “outstanding” MP.

“I think everybody is united in grief, in horror and in an overpowering respect for somebody who we came to know. Who’s talents we admired, who’s passion we observed on a daily basis,” he said.

‘River of people’

The leader of the Liberal Democrats said she was “inspiring to listen to”, adding: “She was an outstanding representative who stood up for her community diligently.

“A young family has lost a mum and a wife, a community has lost a great MP and Parliament has lost an authentic and passionate voice.”

The 52-year-old arrested man, named locally as Tommy Mair, remains in custody.

Witness Ben Abdullah, who was working at a cafĂ© next to the scene of the attack, said he saw “a river of people” coming down the street “screaming and shouting”.

Mr Abdullah said he heard several shots and saw Mrs Cox on the floor “in a very bad state”.

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Jo Cox was elected as Labour MP for Batley and Spen in 2015

Politicians have been warned to review their security in the wake of the attack and a reminder of safety guidance has been sent out to MPs, said a government spokesman.

West Yorkshire Police have so far refused to discuss the possible motive behind the killing.

On Thursday, hundreds of people of all faiths packed into Saint Peter’s Church in Birstall for a service of remembrance while a vigil was also held outside Parliament.

Mrs Cox is the first sitting MP to be killed since 1990, when Ian Gow was the last in a string of politicians to die at the hands of Northern Irish terror groups.

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Books of condolence were opened in the MPs constituency and near her houseboat in London

She was married to campaigner Brendan Cox, and had two young children, with the family dividing its time between its constituency home and a river boat on the Thames.

He said in a statement: “Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.

“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.”

Jo Cox MP death: David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn unite in tributes}

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