17 June 2016 – Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire, was shot and stabbed to death yesterday by a constituent while she was holding an advice surgery in the town of Birstall.
The identity of her killer has not been confirmed by the police at the time of writing. Media reports indicate 52-yr-old Thomas Mair was arrested on suspicion of her murder. He is currently being held in police custody.
Scottish newspaper The Daily Record has a profile of Mair, in which they allege he has links to far-right political groups and mental health problems.
Other media outlets have sought to draw a link between EU referendum campaigning and the killing of Cox. As a Labour member, Cox was campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU. Some people in the area claimed to have heard the killer shouting “Britain First” as he killed Cox, though accounts from the scene vary and some appear to be based on hearsay.
Britain First is a group organised via Facebook that calls for an end to immigration. It is typically characterised as a far-right organisation with a tiny but very vocal support base. Its Facebook page has 1.4 million likes, though it is unclear whether these are genuine likes from supporters or whether they have been bought to artificially inflate its status.
There is little information available about the firearm used to shoot Cox. Eyewitness accounts made to the media have variously claimed it was a sawn-off shotgun, an antique, a wartime pistol or a home-made gun. An object can be seen by the hands of the alleged killer in this photo of him being arrested, though it is not clear what it is. Witness accounts vary as to whether two or three shots were fired.
UK Shooting News’ author is horrified by this deliberate killing of an MP in the act of serving her constituents and has the utmost sympathy for Cox’s husband and her two young children.