Tributes have poured in for MP Jo Cox from across the political spectrum, as friends and colleagues praised her humanity and deep commitment to public service.
He described her as a “wonderful woman who stood for many things – human rights, peace and justice” who suffered a death that was “beyond appalling”.
“Jo was dedicated to getting us to live to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights, and she brought those values and principles with her when she became MP,” he said.
“Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.”
David Cameron said it was a tragedy to lose a committed and caring MP, describing her as a “great star with huge compassion and a big heart”.
Other party leaders also joined the tributes. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, said Cox was a brilliant young MP just doing her job, while the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, said he was deeply saddened and offered his condolences.
Cox had friends and colleagues across the House of Commons, with MPs from rival parties speaking of her commitment to the causes she cared about.
Andrew Mitchell, a Conservative former cabinet minister who campaigned with her to stop the Syrian civil war, called her a “five-foot bundle of Yorkshire grit and determination absolutely committed to helping other people”.
In the Labour party, she was close to Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, who said his family’s memories would be “forever scarred by this moment”.
“Sarah [Brown, his wife] and I were privileged to work with Jo and her husband Brendan over many years, and in her tireless efforts on behalf of poor and desolate children and mothers. She went to some of the most dangerous places in the world. The last place she should have been in danger was in her home town.”“Jo Cox was the most vivacious, personable, dynamic and committed friend you could ever have,” he said. “Whenever you talked to her, the compassion in her eyes and the commitment in her soul shone through. Years of public service advancing the causes she cared passionately about should have been ahead of her.
Ed Miliband, another former Labour leader, said: “My heart breaks for the loss of Jo Cox and for Brendan and their kids. She was so full of life and joy. Words feel hopeless right now.”
The Labour MP John Mann said Cox was an “absolutely outstanding” MP and he was “totally shaken” by the attack. He told the BBC: “She is one of the real stars of the new intake, not just on the Labour side but on all sides. She is hard working, eloquent, everyone likes her, she’s one of the real stars of the future.”
Oxfam, where Cox worked for eight years, said it was proud of the work she did as someone with “passion for peace, justice and equality”.
Max Lawson, who worked closely with her, said she was a “diminutive pocket rocket from the north”.
“She was as a ball of energy, always smiling, full of new ideas, of idealism, of passion,” he said. “She was an inspiring leader, really bringing the best out of all of us, always positive, always believing we could win, and always passionate for change. She was particularly brilliant at bringing huge energy to our campaigning around the desperate humanitarian crisis in Darfur.”
The shooting prompted reactions from around the world, including a tweet by Gabrielle Giffords, the former US congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt in 2011. She said: “Absolutely sickened to hear of the assassination of Jo Cox. She was young, courageous, and hardworking. A rising star, mother, and wife.”
Hillary Clinton released a statement saying: “I am horrified by the assassination of British MP Jo Cox, murdered earlier [on Thursday] in her district in northern England. By all accounts, she was a rising star. Her maiden speech in parliament celebrated the diversity of her beloved Yorkshire constituency, and passionately made the case that there is more that unites us than divides us. It is cruel and terrible that her life was cut short by a violent act of political intolerance.
“It is critical that the United States and Britain, two of the world’s oldest and greatest democracies, stand together against hatred and violence. This is how we must honour Jo Cox – by rejecting bigotry in all its forms, and instead embracing, as she always did, everything that binds us together.
“My thoughts and prayers are with her friends, her family, and the British people.”