Labour MP Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed in her West Yorkshire constituency today (16 June), shocking the country and bringing campaigning ahead of the EU Referendum to a halt.

Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, had just held a weekly advice surgery when she was shot at least twice in the middle of the street. The assailant kicked the mother of two as she lay on the ground after the shooting. Multiple eye-witnesses report that the alleged killer yelled "put Britain First" during the savage attack.

Police confirmed a 52-year-old man has been arrested near Market Street, Birstall, in connection with the attack, in which a 77-year-old man also suffered slight injuries. The suspect was named locally as Tommy Mair.

Brendan Cox, husband of the murdered politician, released an statement saying: "She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one, that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous."

A wave of grief greeted the news. Iain Dale, a broadcaster and former Conservative Party politician, caught the mood of the nation when he broke down in tears on his show for LBC radio, as he read Mr Cox's moving statement.

Jo Cox is the first sitting MP to be killed since 1990, when Ian Gow was the last of a number of politicians killed by Northern Irish paramilitary groups.

Dee Collins, temporary chief constable of West Yorkshire police, confirmed at a press conference: "At 1.48pm, Jo Cox was pronounced deceased by a doctor working with a paramedic crew that was attending to her serious injuries."

A week ahead of the EU referendum, both Leave and Remain have suspended campaigning. The BBC said its shows Question Time and This Week, which would have focused on the referendum, have been cancelled.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described how the whole of the Labour party and the country at large would be "in shock at the horrific murder", describing the MP as a "much-loved colleague".

"Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve," he said.

Before entering politics, Jo Cox had been head of policy at Oxfam. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1995, she worked for Save the Children, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and as an adviser to the Freedom Fund, an anti-slavery group.

A witness to the attack, Clarke Rothwell, told the BBC that he heard a "loud popping noise that sounded like a balloon burst.

"When I looked round there's a man stood there in his 50s with a white baseball cap on and a jacket with a gun, an old fashioned looking gun in his hand".

A study published earlier this year found that one in five MPs had been subjected to an attack or attempted attack.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking on Twitter, said he was cancelling a planned trip to Gibraltar for a political rally, before adding: "The death of Jo Cox is a tragedy. She was a committed and caring MP. My thoughts are with her husband Brendan and her two young children."

Jo Cox
Labour MP for Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, pictured here in May 2015, died after being attacked at a weekly advice surgery Reuters