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Cameron’s Gibraltar rally cancelled after MP is murdered in Leeds

David Cameron cancelled a planned EU rally in Gibraltar after the brutal murder today of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Ms Cox, a 41-year old mother of two children and a supporter of the Remain campaign, was shot and stabbed by a man reportedly shouting "Britain first" at lunchtime on Thursday in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Eyewitnesses said he kicked and stabbed her and then shot her several times, the final shot aimed at her head.

News of the attack broke while the Prime Minister’s plane – a private jet that flew over Spain - was en route to Gibraltar and preparations were under way in Casemates Square for a pro-EU rally which thousands were expected to attend.

Mr Cameron’s plane landed just after 4pm and the Prime Minister was greeted on the tarmac by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. In the UK, the Labour MP was fighting for her life.

By the time Mr Cameron and Mr Picardo had driven to the Rock Hotel for meetings and a reception ahead of the rally, both the Stronger IN and Leave campaigns in the UK had decided to suspend all campaigning for the day as a mark of respect for the Labour MP.

Minutes later, Mr Cameron announced he would pull out of the Gibraltar rally too.

He tweeted: “It's right that all campaigning has been stopped after the terrible attack on Jo Cox. I won't go ahead with tonight's rally in Gibraltar.”

Mrs Cox was still in critical condition as Peter Canessa informed the crowds in Casemates that the event had been cancelled.

But as dignitaries waited in the bar of the Rock Hotel to find out what was happening, news filtered through that she had died.

"The death of Jo Cox is a tragedy,” Mr Cameron said, speaking briefly to BBC and GBC camera crews at the Rock Hotel.

“She was a committed and caring MP. My thoughts are with her husband Brendan and her two young children.”

The message was echoed by the Chief Minister, who acknowledged that the tragic developments in the UK meant there was no option but to cancel the event and suspend all campaigning.

“The Prime Minister’s presence in Gibraltar is hugely important news but there is nothing more important than the right to life,” Mr Picardo said, speaking to the Chronicle in the lobby of the Rock Hotel.

“Although everybody who was waiting for the Prime Minister in Casemates will be disappointed, this is the right thing to do.”

“This is a truly appalling attack on a serving MP working hard to serve her community. Jo Cox was a universally respected Member of Parliament who fulfilled her democratic duty to the very best of her abilities.”

“This horrific act is an attack on democracy and the British freedoms that Jo Cox worked so diligently and passionately to defend.”

“My thoughts are with her family and friends.”

FULL STORY IN TOMORROW'S PRINT AND E-EDITIONS

Pic by DM Parody