Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson have paid tribute to Jo Cox following her murder this afternoon.
Corbyn, party leader, said: “The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family – and indeed the whole country – will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.
“Jo had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.
“Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.
“Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.
“Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across Parliament.
“In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.
“We send them our deepest condolences. We have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace. But they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them.”
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “The whole of the Labour movement is devastated at Jo’s death. We have lost a colleague so young who had much more to contribute to public life. She was our future.
“It is hard to comprehend how a compassionate, principled and beautiful person can be taken away from us so cruelly. It’s even more devastating because she was doing what she did best – serving her constituents.
“We grieve her loss. Our love and prayers are with Brendan and Jo’s family.”