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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

French street named after murdered British politician Jo Cox

Mrs Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist in June 2016 in the lead up to the Brexit vote

Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot in June 2016, days before Britain's referendum on its membership of the European Union. Matt Dunham/ AP Photo
Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot in June 2016, days before Britain's referendum on its membership of the European Union. Matt Dunham/ AP Photo

A town in central France has named one of its streets after the murdered British member of parliament Jo Cox, giving her a rare honour enjoyed by a only a handful of her compatriots.

The town of Avallon in the Burgundy region asked the permission of Mrs Cox's family earlier this year before unveiling "rue Jo Cox" in a working-class area that has been redeveloped by the council.

"We needed to find a name for the street. We wanted it to be a woman and she stood for values which we share as well," deputy mayor Gerard Delorme told AFP.

Mrs Cox's name was proposed along with several others but quickly won unanimous backing on the council, which is headed by mayor Jean-Yves Caullet, a member of President Emmanuel Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party.

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Announced with little fanfare in May and largely unnoticed until a photo began circulating on social media, the street name is inscribed on a typical dark blue sign which explains that Mrs Cox was a British MP "murdered for her convictions".

France's streets are used to honour deceased personalities and important figures, mostly men from French history but with a few notable exceptions.

Paris hosts an Avenue Winston Churchill in tribute to the British war-time leader and there are numerous streets countrywide named after famed English scientist Isaac Newton.

Mrs Cox, a Labour politician who defended immigration and campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union, was stabbed to death by a far-right extremist on June 16 last year ahead of Britain's referendum on EU membership.

Delorme said that Mrs Cox's views in defence of the European union -- "which weren't always appreciated by her compatriots" -- had played a role in the town's choice.

In December last year, eurosceptic councillors in the town of Beaucaire in southern France voted to name a street after Britain's decision to leave the 28-member bloc.

Critics mocked the decision afterwards, noting that "Rue de Brexit" was a dead-end.