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Thomas Mair: 'Death to traitors, freedom for Britain'

Man accused of murdering British parliamentarian Jo Cox has appeared in court for the first time.

Thomas Mai

The man accused of murdering British opposition MP Jo Cox has appeared in court for the first time.

When asked to confirm his name at the Westminster Magistrates' Court, 52-year-old Thomas Mair said "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain".

Cox was attacked with a knife and a firearm on Thursday outside her constituency surgery in the village of Birstall, northern England.

Mair has been charged with a string of crimes, including grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm and murder.

Police have previously said the suspect's possible far-right links are a priority line of inquiry for detectives.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a US advocacy group, previously said that Mair, who had lived in Birstall for decades, was a "dedicated supporter" of National Alliance, once the primary neo-Nazi organisation in the United States.

The advocacy group said he had spent over $620 on reading material from the National Alliance, which advocated the creation of an all-white homeland and the eradication of Jewish people.

The murder of Cox, a pro-EU advocate, has left Britain in shock and campaigning for the June 23 referendum on European Union membership has been suspended as a mark of respect.

On Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn jointly paid tribute to the slain MP, and called for greater tolerance in public debate.

"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," Cameron said from Birstall, where he and Corbyn laid bouquets at the scene where Cox was shot.

"She was taken from us in an act of hatred, in a vile act that has killed her. It's an attack on democracy what happened yesterday. It's the well of hatred that killed her," Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said.

Many commentators have speculated whether the killing could be linked to the referendum on the so-called Brexit, which has stoked tensions by touching on issues of national identity and immigration.

Cox, a former aid worker, was an advocate for Syrian refugees.

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