EU Referendum

EU referendum campaigns suspended until Sunday after Jo Cox attack

Flags lowered over Parliament Image copyright PA
Image caption The Union flag was flying at half-mast over Parliament as a mark of respect

EU referendum campaigning has been suspended nationally until Sunday, with less than a week before polling day, after the fatal attack on Labour MP Jo Cox.

The Remain and Leave groups, which have not campaigned since Thursday, have cancelled events planned on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Parliament, which was on a break for the referendum, will meet on Monday for tributes to Mrs Cox.

The mother-of-two died after being attacked in her constituency.

A 52-year-old man has been arrested following the attack in Birstall, West Yorkshire on Thursday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Labour MPs Mary Creagh, Paula Sherriff, Caroline Flint and Melanie Onn leave a vigil in Birstall

Both official EU referendum campaigns were suspended as a mark of respect shortly after the attack on Thursday.

The suspension continued in to Friday, and both campaigns have announced there will be no national campaigning on Saturday either.

Will Straw, executive director of pro-Remain Britain Stronger in Europe ,said in a statement: "The campaign will continue to suspend all its planned national campaign events, street stalls, and rallies tomorrow as a mark of respect for the tragic murder of Jo Cox.

"Volunteers may choose to continue door-to-door leafleting in their own local areas, but the campaign nationally will not be doing so. We will also be making available tribute books for volunteers and members of the public who wish to mark their respects."

Vote Leave said it "will be suspending major campaign events tomorrow such as the planned rally in Birmingham".

Image caption There will be no national campaign events by either side of the referendum debate on Saturday

"Low key campaigning like leafleting at a local level is likely to take place," it added.

Meanwhile, the Labour In campaign group has suspended all national EU referendum campaigning for the whole weekend.

They have said there will be some local campaigning on Sunday but no national campaigning.

Labour's regional office in Yorkshire has also postponed all referendum campaigning in the region over the weekend.

On Thursday Prime Minister David Cameron cancelled a rally he had been planning to hold in Gibraltar while Chancellor George Osborne scrapped a speech he had been due to give at the annual Mansion House dinner in the City of London, instead paying tribute to Mrs Cox.

Planned speeches by Leave campaigners Michael Gove and Nigel Farage were among events to be postponed on Friday.

Vote Leave's Iain Duncan Smith has pulled out a planned interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, part of a series of set-piece interviews with leading figures from both sides in the referendum campaign, which had been due to be broadcast on Friday evening.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Labour MPs Mary Creagh, Paula Sherriff, Caroline Flint and Melanie Onn leave a vigil in Birstall

David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Commons Speaker John Bercow and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn laid flowers in Mrs Cox's Batley and Spen constituency on Friday, and united to condemn her killing as an "attack on democracy".

UKIP leader Nigel Farage also laid flowers in Parliament Square with a note reading: "A terrible waste of a life. Sincerest condolences to all the family."

Vigils for Mrs Cox were held on Thursday night, in London's Parliament Square, and in the parish church in Birstall, on Thursday night, while the Union flag was flying at half-mast over the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

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