British Left-Wing Lawmaker Shot Dead
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A British member of parliament was shot dead in the street, causing deep shock across Britain and the suspension of campaigning for next week’s referendum on the country’s EU membership.
Jo Cox, 41, a lawmaker for the Labor Party and a vocal advocate for Britain remaining in the European Union, was attacked on Thursday while preparing to meet constituents in Birstall near Leeds in northern England.
Media reports said she had been shot and stabbed. West Yorkshire regional police said a 52-year-old man was arrested by officers nearby and weapons including a firearm recovered. “We are not in a position to discuss any motive at this time,” Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said, according to Reuters.
One witness said a man pulled an old or makeshift gun from a bag and fired twice. “I saw a lady on the floor like on the beach with her arms straight and her knees up and blood all over the face,” Hichem Ben-Abdallah told reporters. “She wasn’t making any noise, but clearly she was in agony.”
The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day, with the Remain camp saying its activities would also be suspended Friday. UK Premier David Cameron said he would pull out of a planned rally in Gibraltar, the British territory on the coast of Spain.
It was not immediately clear what the impact would be on the referendum, which has polarized the nation into pro- and anti-EU camps. But some analysts speculated it could boost the pro-EU campaign, which in recent days has fallen behind the “Leave” camp in polls ahead of the June 23 vote.
Media reports, citing witnesses, said the attacker had shouted out “Britain first,” which is the name of a right-wing nationalist group that describes itself on its website as “a patriotic political party and street defense organization.”
But the deputy leader of the group, Jayda Fransen, completely distanced it from the attack, which she described as “absolutely disgusting.”