British Lawmaker Killed in Sudden Attack

The lawmaker and humanitarian seen as a rising star in the Labour Party died after being shot and stabbed in northern England.


Jo Cox, a rising star in the Labour Party known for her work on humanitarian and international issues, died on Thursday after being shot and stabbed in her district in northern England.

Cox is the first British lawmaker killed in office since 1990, when a Conservative lawmaker was assassinated in a car bombing by the Irish Republican Army. Two decades later, in 2010, a Labour lawmaker was critically injured in a stabbing by an Islamic extremist angered by his support for the 2003 Iraq invasion.

According to British media reports, the attack occurred when Cox stepped into an altercation between constituents at a library near the city of Leeds. A man has been arrested as a suspect, and police are investigating reports that the attacker shouted “Britain first!” as he shot and stabbed her. Cox died later in the hospital of her severe injuries.

Authorities believe it was an isolated incident and not part of a broader plot.

Last fall, Cox abstained from a heated vote in Parliament over whether Britain would take greater military action in Syria. In a May op-ed, she called the U.S. and British response to the Syria conflict “nothing short of a foreign policy disaster.”

“I don’t believe that either President Obama or the prime minister tried to do harm in Syria,” she wrote, “but, as is oft said, sometimes all it takes [sic] for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

She also worked with Oxfam, an anti-hunger charity, and on reducing infant mortality and combating modern slavery.

Cox supported European integration, writing last week on Twitter: “Immigration is a legitimate concern, but it’s not a good reason to leave the E.U.”

Britain holds a referendum next week for whether to remain or leave the 28-nation European Union.

Brendan Cox, her husband, said in a statement she would not have wanted her death to divide.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Photo credit: YUI MOK/EPA

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