Tributes paid to MP killed in gun attack

Attacker followed his victim for a mile before assault in city alleyway

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MPs across the Portsmouth area have paid tribute to MP Jo Cox who died after being shot and stabbed outside her constituency office today.

The Labour MP for Batley and Spen, a mother-of-two, was attacked by a man reportedly shouting ‘Britain first’ at lunchtime in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Labour MP Jo Cox

Labour MP Jo Cox

Armed police were called to the scene, however Ms Cox suffered serious injuries and she was pronounced dead at 1.48pm at Leeds General Infirmary.

Her fellow MPs have reacted with shock and sadness at the news.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, the Armed Forces minister, said: ‘I was privileged to know Jo through her work on Syria.

‘She was a beautiful person who worked tirelessly to help others. There will be much said in the coming days about her life and considerable accomplishments, but my thoughts are focused on the loss of mum to two young children who was a wonderful and compassionate person.

Penny Mordaunt MP

Penny Mordaunt MP

‘The fact she was taken so brutally makes it all the more unbearable. All my thoughts and prayers are with her family.’

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said: ‘It is very shocking. It is very sad. I am totally and utterly sad for her and her family.

‘She was a mother of two young children and a very talented MP.

‘She was really devoted to her work and the causes that she championed. I cannot believe something so despicable and evil could happen in our tolerant and modern society.

‘I have so many thoughts and prayers for her and for her family.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said ‘It’s just the most shocking and devastating news. We are all slightly numb by it. Jo was somebody who was incredibly respected and liked from people around all sides of the House of Commons.

‘It was this time last week that I was watching her take part in the House of Commons tug of war, and she was the tiniest little thing, but she was just the biggest character. It’s just such terrible news.’

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond described the killing as horrifying.

She said: ‘I can only send my condolences to the family and friends of Jo Cox.

‘It’s appalling news that someone who was serving the community so brilliantly should be killed in this way.

‘She was an aid worker who was already making a difference in Parliament and I had huge respect for her knowledge and abilities.

‘This really does put the security of MPs and other public figures in the spotlight. I don’t think now is the time to jump to any conclusions, but this horrifying murder is a very worrying development.’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the country would be ‘in shock at the horrific murder’ of the MP, who was a ‘much loved colleague’.

The alleged gunman has been named locally as Tommy Mair, 52, who neighbours in Birstall have described as ‘a loner’.

Temporary chief constable for West Yorkshire Dee Collins spoke at a news conference today.

Ms Collins expressed her deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ms Cox, who had two children aged three and five.

She said: ‘Jo was attacked by a man who inflicted serious and sadly, ultimately fatal injuries. Subsequently there was a further attack on a 77-year-old man nearby who has sustained injuries that are non-life threatening.’

She added: ‘This is a very significant investigation with a large number of witnesses being spoken to at this time.

‘It’s a large and significant crime scene and a large police presence with a full investigation is under way to establish the motive for this attack.’

She said that a man was arrested nearby by local uniformed police officers and that weapons, including a firearm, had also been recovered.