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MPs pay tribute to murdered Jo Cox for recalled parliament as Belfast shows its solidarity

By Allan Preston

Published 20/06/2016

MPs gather in the House of Commons, London, to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
MPs gather in the House of Commons, London, to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.

Westminster MPs are to pay tribute to the murdered Labour Batley and Spen representative Jo Cox

The 41-year-old mother of two young children died on Thursday after being shot and stabbed while working in her West Yorkshire constituency of Birstall.

A picture shows tributes laid by the Syria Solidarity Campaign during a vigil in remembrance of slain Labour MP Jo Cox (photo) in Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 19, 2016. British MP Jo Cox was on Sunday remembered as a
A picture shows tributes laid by the Syria Solidarity Campaign during a vigil in remembrance of slain Labour MP Jo Cox (photo) in Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 19, 2016. British MP Jo Cox was on Sunday remembered as a "21st century Good Samaritan" at a service of thanksgiving in the village where she was murdered. Three days after the 41-year-old MP died in a shooting and stabbing attack in the northern English town of Birstall, parishioners at St Peter's Church prayed for her widower Brendan and two young children, Lejla and Cuillin / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-OlivasDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
People at Belfast City Hall pay their respects to Jo Cox
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 20, 2016. See PA story POLITICS MP. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
The British union flag flies at half-mast above the Victoria Tower on the Palace of Westminster in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'NNIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 20, 2016. See PA story POLITICS MP. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
The British union flag flies at half-mast above the Victoria Tower on the Palace of Westminster in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'NNIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
The British union flag flies at half-mast above the Victoria Tower on the Palace of Westminster in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'NNIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
A Union flags flies at half mast over Portcullis House in front of the clock face of Queen Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) at the Houses of Parliament in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'NNIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
A white and red rose lie on Jo Cox's empty seat in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to her.

Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, is charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

More: Jo Cox murder accused makes first crown court appearance

Monday's recall of Parliament is the sixth since David Cameron became prime minister in 2010.

In a break from the norm, MPs from different parties are to set together in a sign of unity.

Members of the Northern Ireland Labour Party and others braved the rain at noon on Sunday to sign a book of condolence.

Before a minute's silence was held, a musician in the small crowd performed a version of the Bob Dylan song, She Was A Friend of Mine.

Yesterday, Mrs Cox's husband Brendan tweeted about how his family had remembered Jo in tents under the stars.

"Jo loved camping. Last night the kids & I camped in her memory & remembered the last time we were all woken by the dawn chorus #MoreInCommon", he wrote.

Pacemaker press 19/06/2016 Vigils have been held across the UK after the killing of the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox on Thursday. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker
Pacemaker press 19/06/2016 Vigils have been held across the UK after the killing of the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox on Thursday. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
A man has been charged with the murder of Jo Cox
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Pacemaker press 19/06/2016 Vigils have been held across the UK after the killing of the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox on Thursday. Political figures in Belfast at Belfast City Hall and members of the public came out to pay tribute to her. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Dr Raied Al-Wazzan at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Murdered Labour MP Jo Cox
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Carál Ní Chuilín at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Tommy Mair has been named locally as the suspect in the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Carál Ní Chuilín at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Jo Cox speaking in the House of Commons
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Dr Alasdair McDonnell at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Jo Cox. Pic: PA
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Dr Raied Al-Wazzan at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Dr Alasdair McDonnell at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is Dr Alasdair McDonnell at a vigil in memorial to Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox at Belfast City Hall in Belfast , Northern Ireland on Sunday 19th June 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Mair appeared before magistrates on Saturday, he gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain".

Brigitte Anton of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland first met Jo Cox three years ago while working in the Labour Women's Network.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at City Hall yesterday she described her late colleague as "a lovely, lovely person and a very dedicated politician."

"She was like one of the sisters, as we say. Very gentle and very kind, very authentic. I just can't believe anybody would attack her, it's just horrible to think about it."

Ms Anton said she believed the killing had been politically motivated.

"It was brought about by the poison in society, that hatred that has been going on for quite a while now, especially in political discourse. We were talking today about overcoming that hatred and making a better life for our children."

Also attending was Emma Hutchinson, the women's officer for the local party.

"I think it's possibly the first time an MP has been killed outside of terrorism for their political beliefs," she said.

"She wasn't a big hitter MP, but she worked diligently for her constituents and further afield for the Syrian children. Across the water the EU referendum has stirred up some quite unsavoury opinions and a nasty debate at times, but it's great to see people speaking from a progressive voice who won't be silenced and have come out in support of her to show she won't be forgotten."

South Belfast MP, the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell, had known Jo Cox briefly during her first year in Westminster.

"Thursday was stunning for all of us," he said. "While MPs do suffer a certain amount of abuse and antagonism, to have somebody shot dead is quite frightening and intimidating for all of us. Jo was a tremendously passionate individual in the issues she took up, in particular Syria and the refugees."

He continued: "We have a particular solidarity here in Northern Ireland as MPs lost their lives."

Dr McDonnell noted that in his own constituency of South Belfast, a predecessor, Robert Bradford - a Vanguard Unionist MP killed by the IRA in 1981 - was shot dead, and 1982 Assembly member Edgar Graham of the UUP was also gunned down a year after the election.

"We've had a sense of this and the pressure MPs are under, but no matter how and when it happens it's not acceptable and can never be justified."

In the village where she was killed, prayers were said yesterday at St Peter's Church for Jo Cox and her family.

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