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Jo Cox murder suspect gives his name as "death to traitors, freedom for Britain"

Thomas Mair, 52, appears at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with multiple offences in relation to the killing of Jo Cox MP.

A man has been charged with murder following the shooting of Labour MP Jo Cox. Thomas Mair, 52, of Birstall was also charged with grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon, West Yorkshire police said in a statement. Asked to give his name at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday morning, he replied: "My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain". 

Cox, 41, who was MP for Batley and Spen, was shot and stabbed outside her constituency office in Birstall at lunchtime on Thursday. Police said a 77-year-old man remained in a stable condition in hospital after he was injured when he "bravely intervened" in an effort to help the mother of two.

Parliament will be recalled on Monday to allow MPs to pay tribute to Cox. The Remain and Leave sides in the EU referendum have suspended national campaigning since her death. At the Joseph Priestley memorial in Birstall on Friday, David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn delivered tributes to Cox. 

The Prime Minister said: "Today our nation is rightly shocked and I think it is time to take a moment to stand back and think about some of the things that are so important about our country.

"The fact that we should treasure and value our democracy, where members of Parliament are in the public, accountable to the public, available to the public. And that’s how Jo died, she died doing her job. I think the second thing is that we should recognise that politics is about public service. People who go into public life want to act in the national interest, they want to pursue the national interest, to do things for other people to make the country and make the world a better place. Politicians disagree with each other, we often disregard what politicians say and we disregard each other. But that is what it is about and that is what Jo showed it is all about."

The Labour leader said: "Ours is a country where tolerance and respect for other people and different viewpoints have always been highly valued.

"We must not allow those who peddle hatred, terror and division to poison and degrade our national and political life.

"Jo Cox stood for tolerance, justice, peace and human rights. If any good can come from her killing it should be for us to come together as a country and face down hatred and intolerance in our society."

US president Barack Obama phoned Brendan Cox, the late MP's husband, from Air Force One to offer his condolences. A White House statement said: "The president noted that the world is a better place because of her selfless service to others, and that there can be no justification for this heinous crime, which robbed a family, a community, and a nation of a dedicated wife, mother and public servant."

A fundraising appeal launched in Cox's memory has raised more than £200,000 to support The Royal Voluntary Service, anti-extremism group Hope Not Hate and The White Helmets, which provides search and rescue workers in Syria.

The Conservatives, Ukip and the Liberal Democrats have said that they will not contest the forthcoming Batley and Spen by-election. 

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Theresa May missed an easy opportunity on EU citizens' rights

If the UK had made a big, open and generous offer, the diplomatic picture would be very different.

It's been seven hours and 365 days...and nothing compares to EU, at least as far as negotiations go.

First David Davis abandoned "the row of the summer" by agreeing to the EU's preferred negotiating timetable. Has Theresa May done the same in guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living here indefinitely?

Well, sort of. Although the PM has said that there have to be reciprocal arrangements for British citizens abroad, the difficulty is that because we don't have ID cards and most of our public services are paid for not out of an insurance system but out of general taxation, the issues around guaranteeing access to health, education, social security and residence are easier.

Our ability to enforce a "cut-off date" for new migrants from the European Union is also illusory, unless the government thinks it has the support in parliament and the logistical ability to roll out an ID card system by March 2019. (It doesn't.)

If you want to understand how badly the PM has managed Britain's Brexit negotiations, then the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain is the best place to start. The overwhelming support in the country at large for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens, coupled with the deep unease among Conservative MPs about not doing so, meant that it was never a plausible bargaining chip. (That's before you remember that the bulk of the British diaspora in Europe lives in countries with small numbers of EU citizens living in the UK. You can't secure a good deal from Spain by upsetting the Polish government.) It just made three million people, their friends and their families nervous for a year and irritated our European partners, that's all.

If the United Kingdom had made a big, open and generous offer on citizens' rights a year ago, as Vote Leave recommended in the referendum, the diplomatic picture would be very different. (It would be better still if, again, as Vote Leave argued, we hadn't triggered Article 50, an exit mechanism designed to punish an emergent dictatorship that puts all the leverage on the EU27's side.)

As it happens, May's unforced errors in negotiations, the worsening economic picture and the tricky balancing act in the House of Commons means that Remainers can hope both for a softer exit and that they might yet convince voters that nothing compares to EU after all. (That a YouGov poll shows the number of people willing to accept EU rules in order to keep the economy going stretching to 58 per cent will only further embolden the soft Brexiteers.)

For Brexiteers, that means that if Brexit doesn't go well, they have a readymade scapegoat in the government. It means Remainers can credibly hope for a soft Brexit – or no Brexit at all. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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