British parliament to pay tribute to murdered lawmaker Jo Cox

Britain's parliament was to meet Monday to pay tribute to murdered Labour lawmaker Jo Cox, a pro-immigration campaigner who opposed the country leaving the European Union in a referendum that is now only days away.

Her death last week has prompted calls for the Leave and Remain campaigns to drop their use of vitriol as they try to make their points in the debate on a British EU exit, or Brexit.

Opposition and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron had agreed to recall parliament from a recess to honour Cox, after a Labour request.

Corbyn and Cameron stood together on Friday at a vigil for Cox in her parliamentary constituency in West Yorkshire. They are expected to lead Monday's tributes.

"Jo Cox's killing was not only the tragic loss of a fantastic human being, woman, mother, wife, friend and comrade to so many of us inside and outside parliament," Corbyn said in an earlier statement.

"It was an assault on democracy itself, an attack on the right of everyone to have their say in how our country is run," he said.

Cameron praised Cox as "an extraordinary and compassionate campaigning MP."

"In tribute to Jo Cox, we must drive out hatred, division and intolerance where we find them in our public life and communities," Cameron said.

The parliamentary event will be followed by a memorial service at a nearby church, while friends and supporters of Cox plan a larger "rest in power" event on Wednesday in London's Trafalgar Square, along with smaller events in other cities to mark what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Senior Conservative politician Sayeeda Warsi on Monday dropped her support for the Leave campaign ahead of Thursday's referendum, saying she wanted to reject "the politics of hate."

"Toxic, divisive and xenophobic political campaigning should have no place in a liberal democracy. The politics of hate should always fail," Warsi, a member of the upper house of parliament, said on Twitter.

There has been "a shift in campaigning, a core vote strategy, the end of inclusive politics," she wrote above a photograph of Vote Leave co-leader Boris Johnson and a link to a report on the group's recent focus on immigration.

Cameron welcomed support for Remain from British industry on Monday, including statements from: Virgin founder Richard Branson; the Ford motor company; a car industry body; and the Premier League, which represents England's top 20 football clubs.

In another boost for the Remain campaign, which is backed by Cameron and Corbyn, the Financial Times said the political fallout from Cox's murder had "put the brakes on a recent Leave surge" and spurred a swing to Remain, which is marginally ahead in recent opinion polls.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage on Monday defended a Brexit poster he had unveiled on Thursday showing a crowd of migrants queuing to enter Britain, under the headline "Breaking point."

Farage was widely criticised for the poster, with Warsi telling The Times that it was the "step too far" that ended her support for Leave.

Leave supporters have accused Cameron of using Cox's death to bolster his campaign for Remain votes in the referendum.

An online appeal to fund charities supported by Cox had raised nearly 900,000 pounds (1.3 million dollars) in three days by Monday.

After Cox's death on Thursday, police charged 52-year-old local man Tommy Mair with her murder. Mair had a history of mental illness and had supported racist and right-wing extermist groups, according to media reports.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Italy's Renzi concedes referendum defeat, announces resignation

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has conceded defeat on a referendum battle to approve constitutional reforms and...

After Renzi - who could be Italy's next prime minister?

Italian President Sergio Mattarella is due to appoint a new prime minister after Matteo Renzi said he would resign...

Renzi set for crushing referendum defeat, under pressure to resign

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looked likely Sunday to make good on a promise to resign after early data...

Italian voters reject Renzi's constitutional reforms, exit polls show

Italians have rejected reforms proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, exit polls from a referendum show.

EU leaders relieved as Austrian far-right candidate loses presidency

Pro-European and left-leaning politician Alexander Van der Bellen soundly defeated his far-right rival for Austria's...