A rising British MP was shot dead in the street on Thursday, convulsing a nation that in a few days will decide its future in the European Union.
Jo Cox, 41, from the opposition Labor Party and a vocal advocate for Britain remaining in the EU, was killed while preparing to meet constituents in northern England, Reuters reports.
Campaigning for the June 23 referendum has been suspended.
West Yorkshire regional police said a 52-year-old man was arrested and weapons including a firearm recovered.
“We are not in a position to discuss any motive at this time,” said Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins.
Media reports said Cox had been shot and stabbed.
A witness said a man pulled an old or makeshift gun from a bag and fired twice.
“I saw a lady on the floor like on the beach with her arms straight and her knees up and blood all over the face,” Hichem Ben-Abdallah told reporters. “She wasn’t making any noise, but clearly she was in agony.”
Cox’s husband Brendan said 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”.
The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day, with the Remain camp saying its activities would also be suspended on Friday.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he would pull out of a planned rally in Gibraltar, the British territory on the southern coast of Spain.
Cameron said the killing of the mother of two, who had worked on US President Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, was a tragedy.
“We have lost a great star,” the Conservative prime minister said.
“She was a great campaigning MP with huge compassion, with a big heart. It is dreadful, dreadful news.”
It was not immediately clear what the impact would be on the June 23 referendum, which has polarized the nation into pro- and anti-EU camps.
But some analysts speculated it could boost the pro-EU “Remain” campaign, which in recent days has fallen behind the “Leave” camp in opinion polls.
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