Obama condemns 'heinous murder' of British MP Jo Cox, offers condolences to her husband in phone call

Tributes in Parliament Square, London, on June 17 in remembrance of Labour MP Jo Cox who was killed on a street in Birstall on June 16.
Tributes in Parliament Square, London, on June 17 in remembrance of Labour MP Jo Cox who was killed on a street in Birstall on June 16. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama condemned on Friday (June 17) the "heinous" murder of Mrs Jo Cox, as he offered condolences to the British lawmaker's widower and praised her "selfless service".

Mr Obama called her husband Brendan Cox while travelling on the Air Force One presidential plane, a day after the MP was "brutally murdered", the White House said.

"President Obama offered his sincere condolences on behalf of the American people to Mr Cox and his two young children, as well as to her friends, colleagues and constituents," the White House statement said.

"The President noted that the world is a better place because of her selfless service to others, and that there can be no justification for this heinous crime, which robbed a family, a community and a nation of a dedicated wife, mother and public servant."

Mrs Cox was shot and killed in a ferocious attack in the northern English village of Birstall. Police are investigating the 52-year-old suspected attacker's mental health and far-right links.

The US-based Southern Poverty Law Center said suspect Thomas Mair supported National Alliance, once the primary neo-Nazi organization in the United States.

It said Mair had bought reading material from the National Alliance, which advocated the creation of an all-white homeland and the eradication of Jewish people.

Cox, a 41-year-old former aid worker who was campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union and also spoke out for Syrian refugees, was killed just a few miles (kilometers) from where she was born.

She was the first British MP to be murdered since Ian Gow was killed by Irish Republican Army paramilitaries in a car bomb in 1990.

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