Woman, 21, arrested over stabbing of Labour MP

A Labour MP was recovering well from an operation on stab wounds this morning after being stabbed during his first constituency advice surgery since the general election.

Stephen Timms, the MP for East Ham and a vice-chairman of the Labour Party, is thought to have been knifed twice in the stomach while meeting a female constituent at Beckton Globe community hall at 3.20pm yesterday.

The woman reportedly became angry towards the end of her appointment. It is unknown why the woman wanted to see Mr Timms, 54, or if she had any particular complaint. A 21-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene.

A spokeswoman for the Royal London Hospital said: "Stephen Timms had surgery yesterday evening at the Royal London Hospital to repair his stab wounds. The operation went well. He is comfortable and resting on a ward. It is anticipated that he will be discharged from hospital in the next few days to recuperate at home."

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said: "Police were called at 3.20pm following reports of a man in his 50s stabbed at Kingsford Way, East London. Police and ambulance attended. He has been taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A 21-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and is currently in custody at an East London police station."

Mr Timms served in Gordon Brown's Cabinet as Minister for Digital Britain and has been the MP for East Ham since 1994. Last week, he was returned to Parliament with an increased majority of 27, 826, which is thought to be the largest of any MP. He holds a surgery at the centre in Beckton on the second Friday of every month.

Mr Timms has regularly spoken out against knife crime in his constituency, particularly among young people. In 2006, he addressed an event to mark the death of Charlotte Polius, 15, who was stabbed while walking in the street the previous year.

He supported Labour legislation which gave teachers the power to search pupils for weapons and raised to 18 the age at which a knife could be purchased legally. A spokesman for Labour confirmed that the party was aware of the incident and said Mr Timms had "received visitors and is in good spirits".

After the attack, the acting Labour leader Harriet Harman expressed her concern about the safety of MPs meeting constituents alone. She said: "One of the great strengths of the British political system is the everyday accessibility of MPs to their constituents, but we cannot have a situation where MPs are at risk. Parliament needs to consider how best to ensure MPs can carry out their responsibilities safely."

Several colleagues sent Mr Timms their best wishes on the microblogging site Twitter. Tom Harris, the Labour MP for Glasgow South, wrote: "Awful news, Stephen. Wishing you a very speedy recovery."

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, said: "Awful news about Stephen Timms, thank goodness not life-threatening. Stephen is one of politics' thoroughly nice guys and a real gentleman." Jonathan Reynolds, the Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, said: "Appalled to hear Stephen Timms has been stabbed at his parliamentary surgery." Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: "Terrible news about Stephen Timms. Very much hope Stephen is alright and is back with us asap."

The incident has echoes of a similar attack on a Liberal Democrat MP, Nigel Jones, in 2000. He wounded when Robert Ashman, a 52-year-old with financial problems, attacked him with a samurai sword at a constituency surgery at the party's office in Cheltenham.

Andrew Pennington, an aide to Mr Jones, died after being stabbed six times. Ashman was later jailed for manslaughter and attempted murder.

News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Arts & Entertainment
With Jo Joyner in 'Trying Again'
tvHe talks to Alice Jones on swapping politics for pillow talk
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Student
student
News
<b>Rebecca Adlington</b>
<br />This, the first British swimmer to win two
Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the eversmiling
face of the athletes who will, we're
confident, make us all proud at London 2012
peopleRebecca Adlington on 'nose surgery'
Arts & Entertainment
tvJudge for yourself
Life & Style
tech
News
Tough call: is the psychological distress Trott is suffering an illness? (Getty)
healthJonathan Trott and the problems of describing mental illness
Life & Style
23 April 2014: Google marks St George's Day with a drawing depicting England's patron saint slaying a fire-breathing dragon
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents