A UK MP has died after being attacked on a street by a man yelling 'Britain first'

  • Labour Party MP Jo Cox has died after being shot and stabbed on the street in Birstall, Yorkshire.
  • The shooter shouted “Britain first!” during the attack, according to witnesses.
  • The police have arrested a 52-year-old man near the scene.
  • A second man was injured in the attack.
  • Cox had just held an open meeting for local voters.
  • Everything you should know about Jo Cox.
Handout picture of Jo Cox.

Labour Party MP Jo Cox has died after being shot and stabbed on Thursday afternoon near the northern city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, Dee Collins, has confirmed.

The Labour member of parliament for Batley and Spen was meeting with constituents at Birstall Library on Market Street before she was shot at least twice and stabbed.

A 77-year-old man is also reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the attack, which took place about 1 p.m. local time.

Cox was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where she died, West Yorkshire Police confirmed.

A 52-year-old man, named locally as Tommy Mair, has been arrested in connection to the attack, according to Sky News.

The assailant shouted “Britain first!” while attacking the MP, eyewitnesses say. It was unclear whether he was referring to Britain First, the far-right political party.

Clarke Rothwell, a local cafe owner, said the perpetrator shouted “Britain first, Britain first, Britain first” as he stabbed Cox, according to The Telegraph.

Rothwell added: “He shot this lady once, then shot her again and she fell to the floor. He went over, shot her once more in the face area … then he was wielding a knife, a hunting knife.”

Forensics police officers collecting a woman’s shoes behind a police cordon in Birstall. Picture: Getty Images

The attacker also kicked Cox before walking away from the scene, local restaurant owner Hithem Ben Abdallah told The Yorkshire Post.

Rothwell told the BBC: “Somebody tried to grab him, wrestling with him and then he wielded a knife, like a hunting knife, just started lunging at her with a knife half a dozen times. People were screaming and running from the area.”

The gun the attacker used was described as “handmade” by eyewitness Ben Abdallah, who was also speaking to The BBC. The picture below appears to show the suspect being arrested by the police.

Picture: Sky News

Cox, a 41-year-old married mother of two who won her seat in Parliament in the 2015 general election, has received threats in the past for her criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to Sky. The reason for the attack, however, has not yet been established.

A former aid worker, Cox set up and chaired the all-party Parliamentary Friends of Syria group, and she was also part of the Stronger In campaign advocating that Britain vote to stay in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.

Shortly after the attack, Cox’s husband, Brendan, tweeted the following picture:

He also issued this statement, as reported by The Guardian:

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.

Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has released the following statement:

Both Remain and Leave have suspended their European referendum campaigns for the rest of the day. Prime Minister David Cameron has cancelled his trip to Gibraltar, where he was also due to campaign.

A cross-party vigil was held for Cox in Parliament Square on Thursday evening.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a vigil to slain Labour MP Jo Cox. Picture Getty Images

Gabrielle Giffords, the former US congresswoman for Arizona, who was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2011, sent this tweet in tribute to Cox:

Cox is the first sitting member of parliament to be killed since 1990, when Conservative MP Ian Gow was killed by a car bomb at his Sussex home. The IRA claimed responsibility for Gow’s murder.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.