MP says he works with ‘undiminished enthusiasm’ 12 years after stabbing

Stephen Timms has become a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Sir Stephen Timms (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Sir Stephen Timms (Anthony Devlin/PA)

A Labour MP who has received a knighthood has described how he has continued to work with “undiminished enthusiasm”, 12 years after he was stabbed at a constituency surgery.

Stephen Timms, who has become a Knight Bachelor, described how he felt “a bit anxious” returning to his surgery in East Ham, east London, after Roshonara Choudhry attacked him in 2010.

He has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, which have been announced ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.

Sir Stephen has been the Labour MP for East Ham since 1994 (House of Commons/PA)

Sir Stephen suffered serious injuries in the attack and according to police was “extremely fortunate not to have been killed”. He has since made a full recovery and returned to work as normal.

Reflecting on the incident, he told the PA news agency: “That was obviously a very difficult time. It was a kind of ironic time because it was in May 2010, so we’d just lost the general election and I ceased to be a minister, having been a minister for 12 years. That was a heavy blow.

“But I also in that election, I think I got the highest majority in the House of Commons. So for me personally, it was quite a rewarding election, although for our party, it was a disaster.

“Then just over a week later, I got stabbed. I was kind of out of action for nearly two months. But fortunately made a full recovery and have been able to continue with undiminished enthusiasm in the 12 years since. I’m planning to stand again when the opportunity arises next time.”

Asked if it made him look at life differently or changed his approach towards his job, Sir Stephen said: “I don’t think it did make a great deal of difference. It happened in my constituency advice surgery, where these things have had a habit of happening to others as well.

“So the next time I went to my constituency surgery I did feel a bit anxious, but there haven’t been any problems since then and so, quite quickly, I was able to get back into the swing of it and return to normal.”

Sir Stephen has been honoured for his political and public service, with his work as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Switzerland and Lichtenstein being highlighted as part of his work.

Outlining highlights of his career, he said he has “particular satisfaction” with the improvement in the schools in his constituency, and the 2012 Olympic games in London.

Sir Stephen said: “I’m very pleased [with the knighthood]. I’m not sure I’m more deserving than one of my colleagues, but I’m pleased and my 93-year-old mother is pleased about it as well.

“It’s been a huge privilege to serve East Ham as the MP for 28 years, with 10 years as a local councillor before that. We’ve seen a lot of changes in this area.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours list has recognised dozens of people, including several politicians (Andrew Matthew/PA)

“I take particular satisfaction from the dramatic improvements in school achievement locally, made possible by the Government reforms and progress that’s been since then.

“In Parliament, I kind of feel I’m just getting into my stride. The Work and Pensions Select Committee, which I chair, has got absolutely vital work to do as we go through the current cost-of-living crisis. So there’s a great deal more to be done in the years ahead.”

Other political figures to have been recognised include former first minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, former minister and Conservative MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller and shadow minister for international trade and Labour MP for Llanelli Nia Griffith, who have all been made Dames.

Former attorney general and Conservative MP for Kenilworth and Southam Jeremy Wright has also received a knighthood.

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