British MP Jo Cox 'killed for political views'

Husband of murdered British MP Jo Cox says his wife was worried about the tone of the EU referendum debate and was killed for her political views.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Flowers and tributes in remembrance of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Parliament Square, London.

British Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was killed for her strong political views, her husband Brendan has said one week after her murder, adding that she was also concerned about the tone of the European Union referendum debate.

Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two children, was an ardent supporter of the Vote Remain campaign, urging the United Kingdom to remain in the EU ahead of a referendum on June 23. 

The late Member of Parliament worked for Oxfam before becoming a politician and was known for her advocacy of rights for refugees in addition to her pro-EU campaigning.

A former development policy advisor to Gordan Brown, her bereaved husband told the BBC that Jo Cox had "died for her views".

"She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views," he said.

'Whipping up hatred'

In his first appearance in court, the man charged with the MP's murder, Thomas Mair, gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain".

The murder shocked the country and abruptly changed the tone of a campaign that has polarised Britons.

"She worried about the tone of the debate... the tone of whipping up fears and whipping up hatred potentially," Brendan Cox said.

"She was definitely worried about that, but it's not just about the EU referendum, I think the EU referendum has created a more heightened environment for it," he added.

Flowers and placards are placed in remembrance of MP Jo Cox political views.

Remain or Leave

The UK votes on Thursday on whether to remain in the EU or not. World leaders, investors and companies warn a decision to leave would diminish Britain’s influence and unleash turmoil on the global markets.

In a final push to garner support before the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron hammered home the message that leaving the EU would destabilise Britain’s economy and its national security, with fewer jobs, fewer allies and higher prices.

"It will just be you in that polling booth,” said Cameron in an unexpected address outside Downing Street on Wednesday.

“Just you, taking a decision that will affect your future, your children's future, your grandchildren's future.”

Campaigning for the EU referendum was suspended for three days after Jo Cox's murder in northern England on June 16.

Some Leave campaigners have accused the Remain camp of exploiting her death.

After Jo Cox's killing, opinion polls indicated sentiment had swung back to the Remain side after a shift towards Leave.

An earlier ORB survey for the Daily Telegraph put support for Remain at 53 per cent, up 5 points on the previous one, with Leave on 46 per cent, down three points.

Brendan Cox said public support for the family had offered some consolation through their grief.

Well-wishers pay their respects at a memorial to murdered Labour MP, Jo Cox is pictured outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

He ruled out seeking the nomination to stand as a candidate in his wife's constituency of Batley and Spen, saying his priority was to look after their two children, aged three and five, and to ensure that "something good" comes of their mother's murder.

Donations toward a memorial fund set up in her name has thus far collected $1.7 million. Charities such as The White Helmets, a volunteer search and rescue organisation from Syria, will benefit.

“She just approached things with a spirit, she wasn’t perfect at all you know, but she just wanted to make the world a better place, to contribute, and we love her very much,” her husband said.

Events are set to be held in cities including London, Brussels and New York in her memory on Wednesday, on what would have been Cox's 42nd birthday.

TRTWorld and agencies