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Jo Cox murder: Was suspect Thomas Mair influenced by far-right ideology?

Jo Cox murder: Was suspect Thomas Mair influenced by far-right ideology? Jo Cox, the late MP of Batley and Spen (IMAGE: Twitter)

The tragic death of Labour MP Jo Cox has left the world in shock, yet the motive of the suspect remains ambiguous. Thomas Mair, who has been arrested for the killing of Cox, was heard by witnesses to have shouted “Britain First” as he shot and stabbed the Batley and Spen MP.  So was Mair, 52, acting out against a former global aid worker, who in her maiden speech spoke of how “our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration”? The same community that Mair lived and was Cox’s constituency.


Reports have revealed that Mair had links with a London-based far right group which have been campaigning for years for Brexit, and was named as a supporter in an online publication of the Springbok Club. The club is an organisation which has defended the white supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa.

There is apparent ten year link between Mair and the Springbok Club. A sleuth managed to track down the link via its online publication, the Springbok Cyber Newsletter, with a bygone question regarding Mair’s whereabouts:  “Thomas Mair, from Batley in Yorkshire [who] was one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of “S.A. Patriot” who has moved from his address in the Fieldhead Estate district of the town.” Don’t you just hate it when your past Internet life exposes you?!

Another potential motive – chiefly by the right leaning press – is that Mair was battling mental illness. As we can’t quite call it an act of political terrorism even though clues towards that motive add up. In May 2010 Mair was interviewed by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner he talked  about getting work at a local park after being referred to a clinic for adults with mental health problems. Further on his psychological problems, his neighbours are shocked at the incident and have noted that Mair was actually a quiet loner. An anonymous neighbour said: “We’ve known him quite a lot of years. I’ve known him since I was young. He lived with his grandmother in that house, she died a few years ago. He was a bit of a loner. It’s a bit of a shock – he did everyone’s gardens.” Nothing about him buying Nazi memorabilia on eBay, though.

So which is it – was Mair, an isolated mentally-ill man seeking notoriety in the run up to the EU referendum by killing a promising young politician with an optimistic worldview ? Or was he a political terrorist, targeting a MP who clarified how she would welcome refugee children into Britain, and positively mused on immigration? No matter which way we look at it, a wife, a mother of two young children, with a promising career, was on her way to work and never came back.


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