A British member of parliament has been killed in her Yorkshire constituency.
Helen ‘Jo’ Cox was pronounced dead at 1:48pm Thursday afternoon, shortly after being “stabbed and shot” outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds. A 52 year old male has been arrested in relation to the killing, and police said in a press conference they are not seeking any more suspects.
Read below for live updates.
Suspected killer may have had “mental health problems”, in receipt of “psychotherapy and medication”
The suspected killer of MP Jo Cox has been named locally as Thomas Mair, who has featured in a number of local news reports in recent years as a mentally ill man who claimed to be benefitting from local voluntary opportunities.
An archived 2010 article about a country park which welcomed Mr. Mair from the Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental health problems to volunteer in building a “faith garden” reported Mr. Mair as saying: “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world.
“Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common mainly caused by long-term unemployment.
“All these problems are alleviated by doing voluntary work.
“Getting out of the house and meeting new people is a good thing, but more important in my view is doing physically demanding and useful labour.
“When you have finished there is a feeling of achievement which is emotionally rewarding and psychologically fulfilling.
“For people for whom full-time, paid employment is not possible for a variety of reasons, voluntary work offers a socially positive and therapeutic alternative.”
A 2011 article from Batley News about the same initiative also featured a picture of Mr. Mair (right).
Update 13.45 – Independent: Petition to cancel EU referendum surges in wake of Jo Cox killing
The Independent has reported that an online petition to cancel next week’s referendum has surged in support in the days following the killing of Jo Cox.
Currently boasting nearly 22,000 signatures, the Independent claims the petition “looks set to hit 100,000 signatures before polling day on Thursday.” Normally that would trigger a debate in Parliament, but the gesture is futile as MPs have broken for recess for the referendum campaign.
The text of the petition reads:
According to the BBC (as at the 26th February 2016) 444 MPs of (almost) all parties have declared their support for Britain staying a member of the European Union on the basis of the reform package negotiated by the Prime Minister.
Constituting more than 68% of the votes in the House of Commons, this represents a rare and overwhelming cross-party Parliamentary majority. If it is the settled will of such a large majority in the House of Commons, Parliament should now rise to the occasion and assert the very sovereignty Brexit campaigners claim it has lost. Parliament should ratify the agreement reached by the Government with the European Union and confirm Britain’s membership of the European Union on that basis.
Update 1150 – Warnings made about contempt of court following Thomas Mair’s arrest
The legal commentator at FT.com, David Allen Green, has posted a series of tweets warning people about contempt of court issues in relation to Thomas Mair.
On a beach, the wise king sits and waves the Contempt of Court Act at the sea. The courtiers watch as the tide still comes in.
— David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) June 18, 2016
“Proceedings are now active for Contempt of Court purposes and have been since arrest,” the king shouts out as the waves just lap over him.
— David Allen Green (@DavidAllenGreen) June 18, 2016
“Careful now,” are the king’s last words as his crowned head is submerged.
The Contempt of Court Act then floats away.
— David Allen Green (@DavidAllenGreen) June 18, 2016
Update 1140 – Daily Telegraph: ‘Thomas Mair asked for mental health treatment day before MP died’
The Daily Telegraph reports this morning that Thomas Mair sought help for his mental health problems the night before Jo Cox was killed – but was told to make an appointment and return the next day.
According to the newspaper:
Mr Mair, 52, visited an alternative therapy centre in Birstall on Wednesday evening, the night before Mrs Cox was killed, where he explained he wanted treatment for depression.
The owner of the Birstall Wellbeing Centre told Mr Mair to return the next day for an appointment but he never went back.
Update 1120 – Remain voice at the Independent rejects establishment consensus, ‘mood of British politics did not lead to the death of a valued MP’
Reinforcing the piece written by Breitbart London’s James Delingpole, the Independent’s Mary Dejevsky has warned that the tragic loss of Jo Cox “for her family, for her constituents, for the institution of Parliament and for the causes she so passionately represented” now “risks becoming a loss also for the EU referendum and, by extension, for UK democracy.”
She describes the “forceful view” that “rapidly gained a following, especially among Remainers”:
If only the referendum campaign had been less ruthless, they lamented; if only opponents had resisted verbal street-fighting; if only everyone had shown respect…the nasty, brutish, adversarial culture of today’s politics might not have been directly to blame for Jo Cox’s death, they conceded, but surely it played a role – and now we should all shape up and behave like the polite and civilised Britons we really are.
However, Ms. Dejevsky — who self-identifies as “a steadfast Remainer, and sometime participant in referendum debates” — said she “could not disagree more”, explaining:
The referendum campaign has been one of the longest electoral engagements of recent times. It seemed to simmer away without troubling anyone much until suddenly, in its latter stages, it took off.
Then, yes, there were blatant distortions on either side; yes, the language became heated; yes, the campaign left tolerance behind. But genuine political debate is not afternoon tea. If you can’t have a no-holds barred argument about the future of the country – which is what the EU referendum is about – then we might as well wave any idea of political participation goodbye.
Update 1025 – Thomas Mair identifies himself at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Thomas Mair is now in court, appearing behind reinforced glass in a police issue tracksuit, handcuffed to a guard.
Asked his name the defendant in the dock says "My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain."
— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) June 18, 2016
The judge then asked the defendant’s lawyers to confirm that his name was Thomas Mair, which they did.
He did not say anything when asked for his address and date of birth. He was not required to enter a plea, and his lawyer said there was no indication of what plea would be given.
Mr. Mair’s inability to answer a straightforward question over his name will call into question whether he is mentally fit to enter a plea. Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot suggested that a psychiatric report should be prepared, saying: “Bearing in mind the name he has just given, he ought to be seen by a psychiatrist.”
The hearing ended after 10 minutes, and moves to the Central Criminal Court — the Old Bailey — for a bail hearing on Monday. Until then Mr. Mair will be held at Belmarsh Prison.
Update 1025 – James Delingpole reviews the state of debate
Breitbart London’s James Delingpole explains how voices on the liberal-left try to blame political violence on ‘tone’ in order to limit their opponents’ free speech and campaigning.
Apparently, in the eyes of the left one isn’t allowed to fight back.
But I’m afraid I disagree with this. Freedom of speech is important — never more so than in dark times like this. Bad ideas need to be challenged. Truths must be asserted. Vile calumnies denounced.
Update Saturday 1000 – Thomas Mair at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
A van believed to be carrying Thomas Mair has arrived under police escort at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where he is due to appear later today.
Update Saturday 0920 – Thomas Mair Charged With Murder
Thomas Mair has been charged with the murder of MP Jo Cox, West Yorkshire Police say. He is also charged with grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon.
The special crimes and counter-terrorism unit at the Crown Prosecution Service was reportedly involved in considering the charges brought against Mr. Mair. The unit talked to investigating detectives, and the North East counter-terrorism unit assisted police in their inquiries.
He will appear this morning at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
Update 1950 — Labour MP Slammed For Blaming Jo Cox Death On Brexit
Neil Coyle, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, provoked an outcry on Twitter when, during a tribute to Ms. Cox on Newsnight, he alluded to the Leave campaign and the referendum on European Union (EU) membership.
“I think that the kind of nonsense that they inspire online from anonymous accounts, and actually the core content of the poster they launched today, look at what they are putting out and I just think that they are very dangerous, and they risk inspiring extremist elements on the hard right in this country,” he told the programme’s presenter.
But viewers called his comments “low” and “opportunist,” saying he should be “ashamed”. Read more at Breitbart London
Update 1930 — Journalists, Campaigners share misleading edited clip of Farage in wake of attack
A selectively edited clip of Nigel Farage warning about the potential for political violence which instead gives the impression he is threatening violence has been widely shared by media and activists in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox. The short clip – cut from qualifying statements and lifted out of context – has been uploaded onto an anti-Brexit Facebook page, receiving more than 150,000 views.
“Terrifying video of Nigel Farage talking about violence being the ‘next step’ if we don’t vote to leave the EU”, reads the caption. Read more at Breitbart London.
Update 1855 — American Polling suggests Jo Cox attack has impacted referendum voting
New polling performed by a British company for USA Today, with interviews taken from Monday to Thursday and then again on Friday suggest the needle is still moving toward Britain leaving the European Union.
USA Today reports: ” British support for remaining in the European Union has weakened in the wake of the murder of the pro-EU politician Jo Cox, according to an online research company Friday… backing among likely voters for Britain’s EU membership has dropped to 32% from 40% before her death.
“[The poll] found that 52% will vote to leave the bloc in a national referendum on June 23. The figure is unchanged from before the parliamentarian’s death. The weakening support for remaining in the EU coincided with a large move toward “Don’t know,” which leaped to 16% from 9% before Cox’s assassination”.
Update 1825 — West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Statement
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said this evening:
“Firstly, I want to restate my deep horror and revulsion at the senseless taking of Jo Cox’s life which has devastated her family and friends and her community. My condolences and thoughts continue to be with her family.
“Being at the church vigil and witnessing the huge impact this tragedy is having on Batley and Spen, and nationally and internationally, demonstrates what a very special person Jo was to so many.
“At the moment we have an ongoing criminal investigation into the circumstances that led to Jo’s untimely death and it is crucially important that we let the police carry on doing their job to ensure justice for Jo’s family, her colleagues and the wider community.
“I would also like to extend my thanks for the brave and quick actions of the officers who apprehended the suspect nearby.
“It is totally understandable that people will want answers to valid questions around what led to this tragic incident and those answers, I have no doubt, will come in due course, but it is crucially important that we ensure that potential criminal proceedings, charges and due process is not jeopardised in any way.
“I want to reassure people that I will do everything within my power as Police and Crime Commissioner, with West Yorkshire Police, to ensure the people of Batley and Spen, and communities across West Yorkshire are safe and feel safe at this difficult time.”
Update 1820 — West Yorkshire Police Release Full Statement
Police have said they are aware of “speculation” about the suspect’s mental health, and “aware of the inference within the media of the suspect being linked to right wing extremism”, and that determining the attack motive was a “priority line of enquiry”.
The full updated statement from West Yorkshire Police released from Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins this evening states:
“I would like to provide an update in respect of the tragic events of yesterday where our local MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox was brutally attacked in Market Street, Birstall.
“We have now confirmed that just before 1pm yesterday (Thursday 16/06/16) Jo arrived in a vehicle in company with two colleagues outside the Library on Market Street and whilst enroute to the library where she had a scheduled constituency meeting, she was attacked and sustained serious injuries from both a firearm and a knife and despite assistance from passers-by, the ambulance service and police officers who were quickly on the scene, she sadly died of her injuries.
“During the course of the incident a 77-year-old man bravely intervened to assist Jo and in doing so sustained a serious injury to his abdomen and although now stable he remains in hospital.
“We have had overwhelming support from the public in respect of this incident which assisted us in quickly locating a suspect who was tackled by unarmed officers and arrested.
“A murder investigation is under way by West Yorkshire Police who are working together with the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, who will bring specialist assets in support of the enquiry.
“We are aware of the speculation within the media in respect of the suspect’s link to mental health services and this is a clear line of enquiry which we are pursuing.
“We are also aware of the inference within the media of the suspect being linked to right wing extremism which is again a priority line of enquiry which will help us establish the motive for the attack on Jo.
“We are keeping an open mind and I do not wish to add to the speculation as we need to ensure that we conduct a professional investigation and do not compromise the need to bring the person responsible to justice.
“Based on information available at this time, this appears to be an isolated, but targeted attack upon Jo – there is also no indication at this stage that anyone else was involved in the attack. However we will be investigating how the suspect came to be in possession of an unlawfully held firearm.
“We are aware of two previous unrelated incidents which culminated in Jo receiving a malicious communication of a sexual nature at her parliamentary office in Westminster. Both incidents were investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service which resulted in an individual receiving an adult caution for one offence which I can confirm is not the same person who we have in custody. The other incident remains un-detected. West Yorkshire Police have not been made aware of any complaints or concerns from Jo Cox.
“The suspect in custody has been medically examined by two specialist medical practitioners who have determined that he is both fit for detention and fit for interview and detectives will continue to question the suspect during the day.
“This remains an active investigation, with a number of scenes which are being forensically examined, including the suspect’s home address. There are numerous lines of ongoing enquiry. We appreciate this has caused some disruption, which will go on for some time, but I would ask people to bear with us while we carry out this critical work.
“This has clearly had a huge impact on the community and we are grateful for their support and cooperation and that of our partners at this time.
“Yesterday and today, officers have been working in and supporting the local community and will continue to do so in order to provide reassurance and maintain public confidence.
“We have been engaged nationally with the Palace of Westminster and the Home Office to review the security arrangements of MPs generally and we are continuing to provide the appropriate advice and guidance to MPs both locally and nationally and seriously considering any concerns which they may have. However all indications are that this is a single isolated attack on Jo, for reasons that we are still trying to establish.
“I would like to thank the media for the way in which they have respected the family’s wishes for privacy at this tragic and sensitive time and I hope this continues.
“Finally I would like to reiterate my sincere condolences to Jo’s husband Brendan, their young children and their wider family, friends, colleagues and the community in which she served – all of which have been deeply affected by Jo’s senseless and tragic death.”
Update 1805 — Listen to Breitbart London Editor in Chief Raheem Kassam slam mainstream coverage of attack
Breitbart London Editor-in-Chief Raheem Kassam has slammed anti-Brexit media, politicians and campaigners for “politicising” the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP, and trying to “spin this as somehow [as] linked to the Leave campaign”.
In an interview with the Breitbart News Daily radio show he explained how his team in London had picked the coverage apart, and scolded those who had, “seized on the murder of a mother by a mental patient to further their political goals”.
“I think, actually, somebody needs to take real stock of how the establishment have behaved in this country,” he said.
Read more at Breitbart London
Update 1720 — ‘Britain First’ Shout Eyewitness on BNP Membership List
The eyewitness who insists Jo Cox’s killer shouted “Britain First” before murdering the MP was on the leaked British Nationalist Party (BNP) membership and contacts list. Britain First and the BNP are known to be openly hostile toward one another. Other eye witnesses have denied that the killer shouted the phrase as he attacked Jo Cox MP.
Read more at Breitbart London
Update 1625 — Jo Cox Friend And Eyewitness: ‘Immoral’ For Her To Be Used As Referendum ‘Token’
Speaking exclusively to Breitbart London, one of the key witnesses to the murder of Jo Cox Mr. Hicham Ben Abdallah has said the murder of MP Jo Cox shouldn’t be used as a campaigning”token” for furthering “political ego”. Watch the video and read more here.
Update 1550 — Picture of the Prime Minister’s visit
From Breitbart London’s own photographer:
Update 1500 — Jo Cox’s last words
Fazila Aswat, the assistant to Jo Cox was with the member of parliament when she was killed. Her experience has been relayed via her father Gulham Maniyar. The Guardian reported his remarks as he described what his daughter saw, and the last works of Jo Cox: “She tried to help her but she couldn’t do anything. She’d been stabbed and shot.
“She was with my daughter. They’d left Batley office, they were in the marketplace, she was in my daughter’s car sitting in the back seat. The car stopped and Jo decided to come out. My daughter didn’t know she’d been shot. Because this person must be waiting outside where the surgery happens.”
“She said her [Jo’s] injury was so bad and she was in her arms. There was lots of blood. She said ‘Jo, get up’ but she [Jo] said ‘no, my pain is too much, Fazila’. And I think those were the last words Jo spoke. She could not do anything else. She tried to comfort her. Then the police came, the air ambulance came, they took her to hospital. She was a witness and her clothes were full of blood.”
“She tried to help her, she tried to hit [the attacker] with her handbag but he tried to go at her. People came so he followed them and he came back again and shot her [Jo] again twice.”
Update 1355 — Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Speaker of the House John Bercow Make Joint Statement in Birstall … Parliament to be Recalled on Monday
Speaking in front of the memorial where many have left flowers in Birstall this lunch time, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition have made a joint statement. The Prime Minister spoke of when he first met Jo Cox working in Darfur in 2006 while she was helping refugees, and said:
“Today our nation is rightly shocked. It is a moment to stand back and think about some of the things that are so important about our country… we should treasure our democracy… she died doing her job… we should recognise that politics is about public service.Perhaps most important of all we should value and see as precious the democracy we have on these islands. We do have peace, we do have stability, we do have a measure of economic wellbeing better than other countries.
“Perhaps most important of all we should value and see as precious the democracy we have on these islands… We do have peace, we do have stability, we do have a measure of economic wellbeing better than other countries”.
“Where we see intolerance we must drive it out of public life and out of our communities… What we should do is that recognise that her values, service, community, tolerance, the values she lived and worked by, those are the values we need to redouble”.
Mr. Corbyn said: “We need our whole society to be secure… She was a campaigner for human rights and justice all around the world… she was taken from us in an act of hatred… it is an attack on democracy what happened yesterday”.
Mr. Corbyn told reporters that Jo Cox was killed by a “well of hatred”, and said: “I’ve asked the Prime Minister and the speaker for the recall of parliament on Monday and they’ve accepted that request… so that we can pay due tribute to her.
“On behalf of everybody in this country who values democracy… free from the kind of brutality that Jo suffered… everyone must have protection and security in order to function in a democratic society… It is a tragedy beyond tragedy… in her memory we will not allow those people who spread hatred and poison to divide our society”.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow called it a “despicable and appalling act” and said “evil cannot be allowed and will not be allowed to triumph over good”.
Update 1345 — Lib Dem Leader Farron Conflates Jo Cox Death and Referendum
Update 1335 — Breitbart’s James Delingpole Slams the “Dirty Politicking” surrounding the coverage and reaction to Jo Cox’s death
The morning after a senseless tragedy which has appalled the whole of Britain I’d like to ask you a simple question:
Is there any depth to which you will not stoop in order somehow to snatch victory in this EU referendum?
The answer I’m getting from some of you is: “Nope. None”.
There are so many powerful vested interests with so much to lose in the case of a Leave vote that is no wonder that advocates of Remain are fighting so hard and so dirty to keep their tainted status quo intact. First came Project Fear; then Project Lies; now – the most cynical and exploitative of all – Project Grief.
But it would be an awful, awful shame if the most important democratic decision any Briton is going to face in his or her lifetime should come down not to the facts or the arguments or people’s instincts as to what is truly right for Britain – but simply to crass speculation as to what a madman may have intended when he killed an innocent working mother in the street.
Read more at Breitbart London
Update 1325 — Memorial to slain MP Jo Cox develops in Birstall
Residents of Birstall have been laying floral tributes to their former member of parliament, using a memorial to a local 19th century scientist as a focus for feeling:
From Breitbart London’s own photographer:
Update 1250 — Latest pictures from Birstall
From Breitbart London’s own photographer, the scene in Yorkshire this morning:
Update 1230 — Concern over “pro Remain journalists” making political capital out of attack
British journalist Brendan O’Neill writes:
Update 1210 — Claims suspected killer ordered gun making manual
Britain’s Daily Telegraph has reproduced claims that suspected killer Thomas Mair ordered a quantity of literature from ‘National Vanguard Books’ between 1999 and 2003, one of which contained instructions on how to build a crude home-made handgun. The Telegraph reports: “Records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a US-based group which monitors the far right, show a Thomas Mair from Batley, West Yorkshire, placed his first order with National Vanguard Books – the Alliance’s publishing offshoot – in May 1999.
“Mair made further purchases of literature in the years that followed subscribing to National Vanguard, the Alliance’s magazine as well as another publication called Free Speech. In all he spent £620 with the National Alliance’s publishing arm”.
Update 1120 — Flags at half mast after killing of Jo Cox MP
Flags have been hoisted at half-mast today on public buildings including in London and the Town hall of Batley today, which formed part of Jo Cox’s constituency.
Flags at half-mast on #Batley Town Hall this morning in memory of #JoCox pic.twitter.com/Iss7gzl8if
— BBC Radio Leeds (@BBCLeeds) June 17, 2016
All flags are at half-mast along Whitehall today for #JoCoxMP, including ours in Downing Street. pic.twitter.com/ootIJqIV8p
— Christian Guy (@ChristianGuy_) June 17, 2016
Jo Cox was a formidable politician, campaigner and person. I will miss her. City Hall flags lowered to half-mast. pic.twitter.com/AoVzwwEZR5
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) June 17, 2016
Update 1040 — Latest pictures from Birstall
From Breitbart London’s own photographer, the scene in Yorkshire this morning:
Update 0935 — Suspect’s brothers speaks out
Two brothers of killing suspect Thomas Mair have spoken out after he was named as the suspected killer of MP Jo Cox, and media reports about his alleged right-wing views. The Times reports the remarks of Scot Mair, 49, who lives locally and who “wept” when he heard his brother had been arrested. He told the paper: “I am struggling to believe what has happened . . . He has a history of mental illness, but he has had help. I cried when I heard. I am so sorry for [Mrs Cox] and her family”.
Thomas Mair’s half brother, 41-year-old Duane St Louis said “He never expressed any racist views or had any issue with having a mixed-race brother”. Mr. St Louis confirmed his half-brother had mental issues but said they were limited to an obsessive compulsive disorder which meant he was “obsessed with personal hygiene”.
Update 0900 — ‘Remain’ supporting paper politicises murder
British newspaper The Star has splashed today on the alleged political views of suspected killer Thomas Mair, 52. The paper has been condemned on Twitter for the move, following the suspension of EU referendum campaigning out of respect for the dead member of parliament.
The text-box on the front page of the left-wing newspaper reads: “Labour MP Jo Cox was yesterday shot and stabbed to death in a Brexit motivated attack. The gunman shouted “Britain first” as the pro-EU mum lay dying on the pavement”.
Local witnesses have since denied hearing the killer shout “Britain first”.
Update 0845 — Local witness insists there was no ‘Britain First’ shout
While interest today is swirling around whether the killer had a political motive, and whether indeed he did shout “Britain First” as he attacked Jo Cox, a local shopkeeper who was a first hand witness to the attack has placed a notice in his window clarifying exactly what happened.
Spotted by an LBC reporter, the message in the landerette’s window says: “Please note, I did not tackle the gunman. And no one shouted Britain First at any time.”
A sign near where Jo Cox was killed claims gunman didn’t shout “Britain First" https://t.co/A5oi0AbNE5 pic.twitter.com/eeTVHRO9C8
— LBC (@LBC) June 17, 2016
Update 2355 – Independent claims killer was subscriber to ‘Springbok’ magazine
The Independent newspaper reports that the alleged killer, Thomas Mair, was a subscriber to the Springbok Cyber Newsletter – the magazine of the Springbok Club which opposed the ANC in South Africa. The report dispels the claim that Mr. Mair was not political, though it is still unclear as to whether he targeted Mrs. Cox or whether it was a happenstance incident in a street.
The claim rests on an entry on the Springbok blog which claims it had had returned post from Mr. Mair’s address in 2006. However he still lived there, indicating a cancellation of the subscription 10 years ago. Details, as with much of today’s events, remain unclear.
Update 2100 — Mourners remember Jo Cox
Mourners have gathered in London and Yorkshire to remember murdered member of parliament Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed this afternoon.
Update 1845 — Local: Suspected killer had no political views
Thomas Mair, who has been named locally as the man arrested on suspicion of killing Labour MP Jo Cox was not politically minded, according to locals who knew him reported by the Daily Telegraph. A neighbour said he wasn’t a member of a political party and had never expressed interest in the EU referendum.
62-year-old Kathleen Cooke told the paper: “I am really shocked. He walked past my house this morning and said hello like he always does… He is just a quiet bloke who keeps himself to himself.
“He is very helpful and he helps local people with their gardens. There is one neighbour who is a bit frail and he keeps her garden tidy. He has helped me cut my hedge a couple of times.
“He has lived here for 40 years and has never been in any trouble and has never caused any trouble. He sometimes used to shout at the local kids if they played too near his house but that is fairly normal.
“I don’t think he belonged to any political party and I never heard him express any views about Europe or anything like that. To us, he was just Tommy, a local bloke we all knew
Update 1830 — Widely quoted local admits he didn’t hear “Britain First”
Local restaurant owner Hicham Ben Abdallah, widely quoted across the media as having claimed Mr. Mair shouted, “Britain First” has told Breitbart London “No, no. I did not hear that”.
Update 17:45 — Eyewitness on “Britain First” — “Never heard that”
Eyewitness tells reporters he didn't hear anyone shout "Britain first", saying: "Never heard that". pic.twitter.com/DWhzqe7ayi
— Ben (@Jamin2g) June 16, 2016
Update 17:40 — Labour MP Maria Eagle deletes tweet claiming killer shouted “Britain First”
Update 17:35 — Prime Minister Gives Condolences
The death of Jo Cox is a tragedy. She was a committed and caring MP. My thoughts are with her husband Brendan and her two young children.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 16, 2016
Update 17:15 — MP Jo Cox Died of Injuries
MP Jo Cox succumbed to her injuries and died this afternoon, pronounced dead at 1:48pm, West Yorkshire Police have said in a press conference.
Update 16:55 — Remain Campaigners Rush To Blame Brexit For MP Attack
Within an hour of news breaking of a 52-year-old man allegedly shooting and stabbing Labour MP Jo Cox many online moved to link the event to the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Yet there is presently no indication the attacker was a Brexit campaigner. Read more on Breitbart London
Update 16:30 — Britain first spokesman speaks to LBC radio
Britain First spokesman Jayda Fransen has told LBC radio: “It’s hearsay. we’re not hearing anything from within our organisation. We are as shocked as anyone to hear these news reports. This is hearsay and this is all we know.
“We’re a registered political party and we hold legal protests. We absolutely condemn this kind of behaviour. We think it is disgusting in fact. Attacking an MP is an attack on democracy.
“I’m very interested to see if this is yet again another example of the left wing media taking something out of context and trying to pin it on an organisation with which it has nothing to do.
“We have a very strict code of conduct. We are very active as a political party and street movement – we hold a lot of legal protests – so we have a very strict code of conduct.
“At the very top of that is: there is no violence tolerated at all. We detach ourselves from all other and distance ourselves from other groups that have been formed who carry out that kind of behaviour who give true patriotic Brits a bad name by their behaviour. All of our activists are well behaved. This has nothing to do with our activists.”
She also went to lengths to stress that the group is not “anti-Muslim” but rather, anti-radical Islam. She added: “We have an unofficial slogan: ‘love Muslims, hate Islam’. These people who follow this barbaric ideology are victims of it. Many of them have not been given a choice, and if they do try to exercise a choice to leave that barbaric ideology quite often they are faced with severe violence or death.”
The original claim for the “Britain First” shout was Aamir Tahir, a local dry cleaner. In the past few hours Mr. Tahir has told other news outlets that he “wasn’t there [at the scene]” and simply heard the allegation as second hand information.
Update 16:25 — Politicians express best wishes to Labour MP Jo Cox MP after she was shot and stabbed this afternoon
Horrified to hear of the attack on Jo Cox. Wishing her well.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 16, 2016
Deeply shocked by news of terrible attack against MP Jo Cox. Thoughts and prayers with her husband and children.
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) June 16, 2016
Update 16:22 — West Yorkshire Police call press conference
Local police are set to hold a press conference at 5pm.
Update 16:20 — Pictures of the scene
Images from AFP / Getty
Update 16:15 — Doubt over “Britain First” cry
The originally quoted sources has suggested that he did not hear the ‘Britain First’ shout as reported. But another witness, named as Clarke Rothwell by the Telegraph, alleges the attacker did shout “Britain First! Britain First! Britain First!”
Update 16:10 — Eyewitness states the attacker did not shout “Britain First”
Scene in Birstall where eye witness quoted says did NOT hear anyone shouting "Britain First" #JoCox pic.twitter.com/hkadF3W4QK
— Andy Bell (@andybell5news) June 16, 2016
Update 16:00 — ‘Britain First’ condemn attack
Responding to a single unconfirmed report that the attacker shouted “Britain First”, the Britain First press office responded to an enquiry by Breitbart London this afternoon and said: “We were as shocked as everyone else to hear about this. We would like to stress that these are unconfirmed eyewitness accounts at the moment.
“We do not condone violence, and we find this attack disgusting”.
Update 15:55 — ‘Remain’ campaigners move to politicise attack on MP Jo Cox
Along with numerous ‘Remain’ campaigners, a Brussels based newspaper has linked the attack with the Brexit Vote:
#Brexit: un homme crie «Britain first» et tire sur la députée pro-européenne Jo Cox https://t.co/6rDk2gR2hF pic.twitter.com/XSXGWcOsJH
— Le Soir (@lesoir) June 16, 2016
Update 15:40 — Prime minister cancels trip to Gibraltar
It's right that all campaigning has been stopped after the terrible attack on Jo Cox. I won't go ahead with tonight's rally in Gibraltar.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 16, 2016
Update 15:35 — Heavy police presence in Birstall
Armed police presence at a #Leeds hospital after a shooting in #Birstall involving #MP Jo Cox @BBCLookNorth pic.twitter.com/ul9LRioQLg
— Malik Walton (@Cameramal) June 16, 2016
Update 15:15 — MP intervened in argument
The Daily Mail newspaper reports Jo Cox MP was attacked after intervening in a fight between two men while she was out campaigning at around one o’clock this afternoon. Reports suggest the gun was pulled after Jo Cox MP became involved in the fight. If true, the report may suggest the attack was not necessarily targeted.
Update 15:00 — Picture circulating on social media claims to show arrest in progress
Update 14:55 — An unidentified male appears to have been injured in the altercation with the attacker and Jo Cox MP
Images have appeared of a man being tended to by police near the shooting of Jo Cox MP https://t.co/6vBAevSxy2
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 16, 2016
Update 14:50 — West Yorkshire Police have released a statement
“At 12.53 today, police were called to a report of an incident on Market Street, Birstall, where a woman in her 40s had suffered serious injuries and is in a critical condition.
“A man in his late 40s to early 50s nearby also suffered slight injuries.
“Armed officers attended and a 52-year-old man was arrested in the area. There are no further details at present.
“Police presence in the area has been increased as a reassurance to the community.”
Update 14:45 — Labour leader Corbyn expresses shock
Utterly shocked by the news of the attack on Jo Cox. The thoughts of the whole Labour Party are with her and her family at this time.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 16, 2016
Update 14:40 — Referendum campaigning suspended
Vote leave announced they have suspended campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union this afternoon in respect for the near-fatal attack on Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox. De-facto leave campaign chief Boris Johnson said: “Just heard the absolutely horrific news about the attack on Jo Cox MP. My thoughts are with Jo and her family”.
The story so far:
A 52 year old man was arrested shortly after the attack. Witnesses described “an older man wearing a white baseball cap” who took a gun out of his bag and shot the member of parliament for Batley and Spen twice. Sky News has reported an eye-witness who said the attacker shouted “Britain First” as he committed the attack.
Britain First is a far right UK group that shares its name with what the attacker reportedly shouted today. The group recently held “knife defence” training courses during a “camping trip” in the Welsh mountains. They told supporters they learned skills like ‘knife defence’ and ‘rough camping’.
It has been reported the assailant pulled a gun after a bystander attempted to intervene in the male kicking Jo Cox while she lay injured on the ground. After the attack, the unidentified man is said to have walked “cooly away”.
Jo Cox was elected to parliament in 2015, after having worked in senior positions for the Labour party, including as an advisor to the wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and to Baroness Kinnock. The MP was one of the Labour parliamentarians who nominated Jeremy Corbyn during the Labour leadership race, although she ultimately supported Liz Kendall.
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