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British lawmaker dies after being shot in her constituency

A Labour MP, Jo Cox, has died after she was shot three times and repeatedly stabbed in a shocking attack as she arrived at her constituency surgery.

Mother-of-two Jo Cox, 41, was airlifted to hospital after a gunman opened fire on her in Birstall near Leeds.

Witnesses said the man was at the office before she arrived and shot her three times, once in the head, before stabbing her as she lay on the ground.

Her husband Brendan tweeted a photo of his wife two hours after she died from catastrophic injuries.

He later urged people to ‘fight against the hatred that killed her.’

In a statement, he said: ‘Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.

‘Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.

‘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. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisionous.

‘Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.’

A 53-year-old – named locally as ‘loner’ Tommy Mair – has been arrested by police and his house is currently being searched by forensic experts.

David Pickles, a neighbour of Mr Mair, said: ‘He’s just quiet. He kept himself to himself. He lived by himself. He’s been on his own for about 20 years. I’ve never seen a lot of people visiting or anything like that.’

Witness Clarke Rothwell, who runs a cafe near where the attack took place, told the BBC he believed the MP had been shot and stabbed multiple times.

He said: ‘He [the attacker] was stabbing her as well, he was stabbing her with his knife.’

Another witness, Sam Watson, added: ‘The man walked away calmly and nobody wanted to approach him.’

Hichem Ben Abdallah, 56, was in the cafe next door to the library when he heard screaming and went outside.

He said: ‘There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.

‘He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor.’

It was earlier thought Ms Cox had intervened in a fight between two men but it is now believed that her attacker was lying in wait. One witness said he believed the attacker was waiting for Ms Cox outside the library where she was holding the surgery.

After around 15 minutes, the shop owner said emergency services arrived and tended to her with a drip.

Mr Abdallah said the weapon looked handmade and that the man who had been wrestling with the assailant continued to do so even after he saw the gun.

He said: ‘The man stepped back with the gun and fired it and then he fired a second shot, as he was firing he was looking down at the ground.’

Aamir Tahir, of The Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting ‘Britain first’.

He said: ‘The lady I work with heard two loud bangs. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.

Eyewitnesses claim the gunman shouted ‘Britain first’ as he carried out the horrific attack on Ms Cox.

Britain First is a group, which formed in 2011 and is led by former British national Party councillor Paul Golding. It is in favour of preserving what it deems ‘traditional British culture’ and is against immigration.

Ms Cox, a Labour politician, had been voting to ‘Remain’ in the EU ahead of the referendum.

It has raised suspicions that her attacker was opposing her political views when he fatally shot her.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, however said he has cancelled a planned pro-European Union speech in Gibraltar after a lawmaker was shot in a village near the city Leeds.

Groups on both sides of the British EU referendum said they have suspended their campaigns.

Cameron was scheduled to make a two-hour visit to Gibraltar Thursday to seek votes to keep Britain in the EU in the June 23 referendum. But he wrote on Twitter “I won’t go ahead with tonight’s rally in Gibraltar.”

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