British lawmaker in critical condition after attack by gunman
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A British member of parliament was in critical condition after an incident in her constituency in northern England on Thursday, British police said, with media reports suggesting she had been shot and stabbed.
Media reports said Jo Cox, 41, who is a lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party, had been attacked as she prepared to hold an advice surgery for constituents in Birstall near Leeds.
West Yorkshire Police said a 52-year-old man had been arrested by armed police and that a woman in her 40s had suffered serious injuries.
According to reports in the British press, the man shouted “Britain First!” as he attacked the anti-Brexit MP, a possible reference to the fringe Britain First far-right nationalist party.
Nearby resident Graeme Howard told the Guardian he heard the man shout “Britain First” both before the shooting and while he was being arrested.
“I heard the shot and I ran outside and saw some ladies from the cafe running out with towels,” he told the newspaper. “There was loads of screaming and shouting and the police officers showed up."
“He was shouting Britain First when he was doing it and being arrested. He was pinned down by two police officers and she was taken away in an ambulance.”
Man fired twice
“Very concerned about reports Jo Cox has been injured,” Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Jo and her family.”
A man in his late 40s to early 50s nearby also suffered slight injuries, police said.
BBC radio reported that Cox had been taken by air ambulance to a nearby hospital.
One eyewitness told the Press Association that Cox had intervened in a scuffle between two men, one of which had pulled a gun from a bag which had then been fired twice.
TV footage showed the surrounding area had been sealed off.
Northern-born Cox was a Cambridge University graduate and aid worker before becoming Labour lawmaker for Batley and Spen in 2015. Known for her work on women’s issues, Cox has worked with several charities.
British lawmakers are currently not in parliament ahead of next week’s referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)