Wales politics

Jo Cox death: Flags at half mast in tribute to killed MP

Flags at half mast outside the Welsh Assembly for Jo Cox Image copyright Tom Woodward/AP
Image caption Flags were flying at half mast outside the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay for Jo Cox

Flags at Welsh Government and assembly buildings have been lowered as a mark of respect following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox.

The 41-year-old died on Thursday after being shot and stabbed following a constituency surgery in West Yorkshire.

Tributes to the MP have continued, with ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock calling her a "burning flame of progress".

Hundreds of people attended a vigil at the Senedd in Cardiff on Friday, with 150 in Swansea at similar event.

Among the speakers at the Cardiff Bay vigil was Jo Stephens, Cardiff Central MP, who was elected at the same election as Mrs Cox.

She said: "The sadness and the anger I feel about Jo's murder is almost overwhelming."

A BBC Wales TV debate on Friday about Europe has been cancelled as referendum campaigning was suspended.

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Image caption About 150 people attended a vigil in Swansea and left floral tributes and messages of support
Image caption Hundreds of people attended a vigil at the Senedd, including AMs and MPs

Mrs Cox is the first sitting MP to be killed since 1990, when Ian Gow was the last in a string of politicians to die at the hands of Northern Irish terror groups.

Her attacker is reported to have shouted "put Britain first" at least twice.

A 52-year-old man, named locally as Tommy Mair, has been arrested.

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says Jo Cox was popular 'across the political spectrum'

Speaking after a meeting of the British-Irish Council, in Glasgow, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "Politicians make sacrifices in order to do their jobs - nobody expects this.

"For a young mother to be taken away from her family in this way is utterly tragic."

Appealing for the facts of the killing not to be argued out on social media, Mr Jones urged the public to allow the police to get on with their job of investigating the matter.

Lord Kinnock described Mrs Cox, who worked for his wife Baroness Kinnock when she was an MEP, as the "best kind of combination of high intellect and total commitment".

He said his family's relationship was like that of a "beloved niece", and said his wife was "bereft".

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Media captionLord Kinnock "It's a death in the family"

Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas tweeted: "It would be a strong symbol of resistance to hatred if the sad by-election following the murder of Jo Cox were uncontested."

AMs, like MPs, were given security advice following the attack on Friday.

"Our priority is your safety and that of your staff," AMs were told in an email from the Assembly Commission, the body in charge of politicians' support services in Cardiff Bay.

Although campaigning for next week's EU referendum was suspended, a number of politicians announced they were going ahead with surgeries and constituency events on Friday.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said: "My response to the senseless and heartbreaking murder of Jo is to do my job today.

"My care home visits and surgery will go ahead as planned."

Welsh Labour has suspended its referendum campaigning over the weekend, while Plaid Cymru said it was doing likewise "for the time being".

Vote Leave Cymru has said no campaigning will take place until Sunday.

Nathan Gill, UKIP Wales' leader, said his party was planning to resume campaigning on Saturday but confirmed it would be "very low key".

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