17/06/2016 16:35 BST

Jo Cox Murder: Hilary Benn Says 'I Hope Others Will Come Forward To Take Her Place'

'I always say go for it'.

Hilary Benn has delivered an inspiring message to women considering entering politics in the wake of Jo Cox's murder, saying their presence in the House of Commons enriches our democracy.

The murder of Labour MP Cox, 41, on Thursday has plunged Westminster into grief and brought the dangers elected representatives face into sharp relief.

It has also triggered an outpouring of people defending their MPs, with #ThankYourMP trending on Twitter.

Appearing on Sky News after laying flowers alongside David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn for Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, where the mother-of-two was fatally shot after a constituency surgery, Benn was asked what advice he had for women considering entering politics.

He said inspiring women to go into politics is "a wonderful legacy to leave behind".

"I always say to anyone who comes to me and says 'I'm thinking about life in politics', I always say go for it. If that's what you want to do, it's an honourable vocation. It's a way of life. Go for it," The Shadow Foreign Secretary said.

"To have the opportunity to represent people is a privilege, it's an absolute privilege. It's a big responsibility.

"We want people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all experiences to come and seek representation and members in the House of Commons because our democratic life and our nation is enriched when people do that and I hope others will come forward to take her place."

After Cox's death, her husband Brendan Cox tweeted a picture of her at their houseboat moored in London.

Brendan and Jo Cox

In a moving statement, he said: "Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.

A 52-year-old, named locally as Tommy Mair, was arrested after the fatal attack, in which a 77-year-old man was also injured.

The attack came on the steps of the town library just before 1pm, where the MP had been due to hold a surgery with her constituents.

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