Swedish politician’s death 13 years ago mirrors murder of UK lawmaker
The fatal attack on a pro-European British lawmaker just a week ahead of the key Brexit referendum vote has shaken politicians and voters across the U.K.
While this is the first time in nearly a quarter of a century that a U.K. politician has been murdered, the case bears startling similarities to the assassination 13 years ago in Sweden of pro-EU Anna Lindh.
Days before Sweden would vote on whether to join the euro in 2003, a 46-year-old lead campaigner for Sweden’s to adopt the euro was stabbed while shopping in a Stockholm department store. She had been shopping for clothes for a euro zone debate scheduled that evening. The next day, on September 11, Social Democratic foreign minister Lindh died from her injuries.
On the following Sunday, Swedes rejected proposals to adopt the common currency.
Back in Britain, the death of Labour member of parliament (MP) Jo Cox has set a similarly solemn tone around the otherwise raucous Brexit debate.
The 41-year-old was shot in the small town of Birstall in the north of England while on her way to meet with constituents in a nearby library Thursday afternoon.
According to reports of unconfirmed eyewitness accounts, the attacker shouted ‘Britain first,’ potentially referencing a right-wing, anti-immigration and eurosceptic group in the U.K.. It has led to speculation that the politician’s murder may be linked to the upcoming June 23rd referendum.
Media reports have identified the suspect as a 52-year-old local man Tommy Mair, who is said to have lived alone in a nearby estate.
A full investigation is underway by authorities to determine the motives of the suspect, who is believed to have acted alone.
Though it’s unclear whether there was any political intent behind Cox’s murder, both sides of the EU referendum have since suspended campaign activities.
The political pull-back is in stark contrast to a debate that was otherwise reaching fever pitch less than a week before Brits headed to the polls.
Just on Wednesday, Cox’s husband and children were on a boat on the River Thames in support of the ‘Remain’ camp, as Brexit supporters took to their own flotilla. Both sides trading insults over loud speakers.