Jo Cox MP death: Police probe right-wing links to MP’s killing

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

Police investigating the killing of MP Jo Cox have said they are prioritising inquiries into the suspect’s possible links to right-wing extremism.

Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed outside her constituency surgery in West Yorkshire on Thursday. A 52-year-old man has been arrested.

The BBC understands Nazi regalia was recovered at suspect Tommy Mair’s home.

David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn have described the killing as an “attack on democracy”.

Live updates: Westminster reacts

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Flowers and candles have been laid in Parliament Square

West Yorkshire Police’s temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said the force was also pursuing the suspect’s link to mental health services.

She said the man arrested, named locally as Mr Mair, had been examined by two specialist medical practitioners and deemed fit for detention and interview and said detectives were continuing to question him.

In a statement released by the force, it emerged a 77-year-old man who was injured during the attack, had “bravely intervened” to assist Mrs Cox.

He suffered a serious injury to his abdomen and remains in hospital in a stable condition.

The visit by the prime minister and Labour leader 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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PA

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

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PA

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David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn also signed a book of remembrance at St Peter’s Church in Birstall

‘Tragedy beyond tragedy’

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.

‘River of people’

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 Mr Bercow described Mrs Cox 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, whose talents we admired, whose passion we observed on a daily basis,” he said.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, said she was “inspiring to listen to”, adding: “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.”

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Getty Images

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Flowers and tributes laid to Jo Cox

The Batley and Spen constituency Labour Party said Mrs Cox had “meant the world” to them.

The party added: “She was a lovely woman who cared deeply about her family, her community and everyone around her.

“Above all, she was an amazing wife to Brendan and mum to her two children. It is a tragedy that they will have to grow up without their lovely mum.”

Witness Ben Abdullah, who was working at a café 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.

On Friday, hundreds of people, including Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah, attended a vigil at the Indian Muslim Welfare Society’s Al-Hikmah Centre in Batley.

Ms Shah said he was still struggling to come to terms with her friend’s death.

“You can’t get you head around this,” she said.

“How does anybody make sense of anything that is absolutely so senseless.”

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.

Vigils, including those in Leeds and in Parliament Square, have also been held in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberavon. The Labour Party in Northern Ireland said a vigil will be held in Belfast on Sunday.

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AFP

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Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Labour MP Naz Shah attended a vigil in Batley

In a statement her husband Brendan Cox said: “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.”

The family and friends of Mrs Cox have set up a fund to raise money for three causes which they said were close to her heart. Within hours the fund had exceeded £120,000.

Mr Cox tweeted: “Protecting people in Syria, tackling loneliness & fighting extremism; some of the causes Jo fought 4.”

The charities are:

  • The Royal Voluntary Service, to support volunteers helping combat loneliness in Mrs Cox’s constituency
  • HOPE not hate, who seek to challenge and defeat the politics of hate and extremism within local communities across Britain
  • The White Helmets who are volunteer search and rescue workers in Syria

Jo Cox MP death: Police probe right-wing links to MP’s killing

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