British MP attack: what we know so far

16th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

British MP Jo Cox is in a serious condition in hospital after being attacked in the street in her constituency.

This is what we know so far:

- Who is Jo Cox?

Cox, 41, is the member of parliament representing the constituency of Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire, northern England.

On Twitter she has 10,400 followers and describes herself as: "Mum. Proud Yorkshire Lass. Labour MP for Batley and Spen. Boat dweller. Mountain climber. Former aid worker."

She entered the House of Commons in the May 2015 general election, winning 43.2 percent of the vote.

Cox co-chairs the newly-formed cross-party parliamentary group on Syria.

She is also part of parliamentary groups working on Palestine, devolution, Pakistan, Kashmir and Yorkshire's economy.

She was one of 36 of Labour's 232 MPs who nominated veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn to become party leader last year.

Like the vast majority of Labour MPs, she is campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.

- What happened?

The attack took place in Birstall, a large village in her constituency. It happened near the library, where she regularly holds meetings with her constituents.

Police said they were called at 12:53 pm (1153 GMT) on Thursday to reports of an incident where a woman in her 40s had suffered serious injuries.

A man in his late 40s to early 50s also suffered slight injuries.

British newspapers reported that the MP had been shot, quoting locals, but this has not been confirmed by police.

- What is her condition?

Police said she was in a "critical condition".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said staff at Leeds General Infirmary were "doing everything possible".

- Who has been arrested?

Armed officers attended the scene and a 52-year-old man was arrested.

- What is Cox's personal story?

Cox is from the textile town of Batley, which has a large South Asian Muslim population.

Her father Gordon worked in a toothpaste factory and her mother Jean was a school secretary.

She graduated in 1995 from the University of Cambridge, where she first got interested in politics.

She helped to launch the pro-European campaign organisation Britain in Europe, and spent two years with European Parliament member Glenys Kinnock in Brussels.

She then spent a decade working for the aid agency Oxfam in New York, Brussels and war zones as the head of policy and of humanitarian campaigning.

She was the national chair of Labour Women's Network for four years and worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before standing for parliament.

- Who are her husband and children?

Her husband is Brendan Cox, a former adviser to prime minister Gordon Brown on Africa and international development.

He was formerly the chief executive of the Crisis Action organisation, which works to protect civilians from armed conflict.

He was also the director of policy and advocacy at the Save the Children charity.

The couple have two young children, Lejla and Cuillin.

They live on a converted barge moored near Tower Bridge in London.

- What has been the reaction to the attack?

The EU referendum Remain camp has suspended all campaigning.

The official Vote Leave campaign has withdrawn its battle bus.

Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron cancelled a pro-EU rally in Gibraltar.

"It's right that all campaigning has been stopped after the terrible attack on Jo Cox," he said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was "utterly shocked". "The thoughts of the whole Labour Party are with her and her family at this time."

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he too was "deeply shocked" and was thinking of her husband and children. His thoughts were echoed by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "Deeply shocked to hear about the attack on Jo Cox. Heartfelt thoughts and prayers of all here are with Jo and her family and friends."


© 2016 AFP

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