David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn have united to condemn the killing of MP Jo Cox as an “attack on democracy”.
Speaking alongside the prime minister in Mrs Cox’s West Yorkshire constituency, Labour leader Mr Corbyn said Parliament would be recalled on Monday, and labelled the attack “an act of hatred”.
Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed in the street as she headed to a scheduled constituency surgery on Thursday.
A 52-year-old man has been arrested.
The visit came as the Conservatives, Lib Dems and UKIP all announced they would not contest the by-election resulting from her death.
Joined by Commons chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn, the prime minister and the Labour leader bowed their heads as they laid bouquets in Birstall.
Mr Corbyn said he had asked for Parliament to be recalled to enable politicians to pay tribute to the Labour MP “on behalf of everybody in this country who values democracy… free from the kind of brutality that Jo suffered.”
He added: “Jo was an exceptional, wonderful, very talented woman, taken from us in her early 40s when she had so much to give and so much of her life ahead of her.
“It’s a tragedy beyond tragedy what happened yesterday.
“In her memory, we will not allow those people that spread hatred and poison to divide our society, we will strengthen our democracy, strengthen our free speech.”
Vote Leave and Remain have both suspended campaigning in the EU referendum in light of the attack.
Mr Cameron said: “Where we see hatred, where we find division, where we see intolerance we must drive it out of our politics and out of our public life and out of our communities.
“If we truly want to honour Jo, then what we should do is recognise that her values – service, community, tolerance – the values she lived by and worked by, those are the values that we need to redouble in our national life in the months and years to come.”
The 52-year-old arrested man, named locally as Tommy Mair, remains in custody.
Witness Ben Abdullah, who was working at a café next to the scene of the attack, said he saw “a river of people” coming down the street “screaming and shouting”.
Mr Abdullah said he heard several shots and saw Mrs Cox on the floor “in a very bad state”.