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Scottish Parliament flags at half mast in tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox

Flags at half mast outside Scottish Parliament after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
Flags at half mast outside Scottish Parliament after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Flags are flying at half mast in Scotland as a mark of respect to Labour MP Jo Cox.

The standards at Scottish Government buildings, the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh were lowered in tribute to Mrs Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Campaigning in the European Union (EU) referendum has also been suspended across Scotland and a vigil will be held in Glasgow’s George Square on Friday evening.

Labour MP Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed outside her constituency office in West Yorkshire.
Labour MP Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed outside her constituency office in West Yorkshire.

Mrs Cox, a mother of two children aged three and five, was attacked by a man reportedly shouting “Britain first” at lunchtime on Thursday.

Witnesses said her assailant kicked and stabbed her, and then shot her several times, the final shot aimed at her head.

BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Police cordon off an area after Jo Cox, 41, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was shot and stabbed by an attacker at her constituency on June 16, 2016 in Birstall, England. A man also suffered slight injuries during the attack. Jo Cox was reportedly shot and stabbed while holding her weekly surgery at Birstall Library, Birstall near Leeds and remains in a critical condition in hospital. A 52-year old man has been arrested in connection with the crime. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The Labour MPas shot and stabbed in her constituency.

The alleged gunman has been named locally as Tommy Mair, 52, who neighbours in Birstall have described as “a loner”. He was arrested near the scene soon after the attack.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has tabled a parliamentary motion urging people to heed the call from Mrs Cox’s husband Brendan Cox to “fight against the hatred that killed her”.

The motion pays tribute to the MP’s “dedication and commitment to creating a better world, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable people”.

Ms Dugdale also called on all parties to work together to “conduct our public debate with good humour, understanding and her enduring spirit to make the world a better place.”

Scottish politicians vowed to continue their constituency business amid concerns over safety and security.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Politicians all over the country will hold Friday surgeries today. We’ll do so with heavy hearts. But it’s what we do. May it never change.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also wrote on Twitter: “Today I will do what I have done almost every Friday for 19 years – try to help constituents at my surgery. Today feels very different.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray paid tribute to a “fun and loving colleague” who he described as “determined and compassionate”.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that he would have a police presence at his constituency surgery on Friday.

Referring to his schedule of events over the next few days, Mr Murray said: “We will do an assessment today on the risks of doing those but it’s absolutely right that we continue to do what we’ve always done and show the public that members of parliament are accessible.

“It’s very difficult to try and construct a set of circumstances between any elected members and the public of how you could have prevented this particular incident from happening.

“They’ve happened before, let’s hope they don’t happen again, but that’s the risk that everyone takes when we are in the frontline with the general public, particularly at a time when political discourse is so heightened.”

He added: “I’m very much of the view that we should look at perhaps recalling parliament on Monday so that the chamber can come together, not just to pay the rightful respects to Jo and make sure her memory lives on as an active and compassionate and liked member of parliament, but it would allow us to to examine some of these issues about how parliament should operate.”

A vigil will also take place at 6.30pm in Edinburgh at the Women and Child statue in Lothian Road.

In Glasgow, the 26th meeting of the British-Irish Council, hosted by Ms Sturgeon, began with a minute’s silence in memory of Mrs Cox.

Addressing a press conference after the summit, the First Minister said: “We all want to convey our heartfelt sympathies to Jo’s husband, to her two young children, to her wider family and indeed to everyone who loved her.

“As politicians we all value and are deeply committed to the openness and accessibility of elected representatives to the people we serve that is in very many ways the hallmark of our democracy.

“So, events like yesterday’s, although thankfully very rare, hit all of us as politicians very hard but I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say that we are all determined, inspired by Jo Cox to rededicate ourselves to the notion of politics and public service as a force for good.”

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