Stabbed MP Stephen Timms: I am prepared to meet my attacker and want to forgive her

A former minister has said he would meet the woman who stabbed him more than 11 years ago as part of a “restorative justice process”.

Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, revealed he had received a letter from Roshonara Choudhry, a British former student and an Islamic extremist who is serving a life sentence for attempted murder. 

Choudhry, who stated that she had been influenced by online sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was the first al-Qaeda sympathiser to attempt an assassination in Britain. 

In one of three letters, she apologised to Mr Timms for having stabbed him several times at a constituency surgery in 2010.

Roshonara Choudhry is in prison for the attempted murder of Stephen Timms Roshonara Choudhry is in prison for the attempted murder of Stephen Timms

Mr Timms’s announcement comes after Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend West, was killed in October last year. 

Sir David was at a constituency surgery when an alleged terrorist fatally stabbed him. Ali Harbi Ali, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Sir David, with a trial date set for March 21.

During a Commons debate at the time of Sir David’s death, Mr Timms told the House that he would like to meet his attacker face-to-face in order to forgive her. He said that he would like to meet her before she is released from prison.

In an interview to be aired on GB News on Wednesday, Mr Timms said: “I’ve recently had three letters from her which the police have given to me. I wasn’t aware of their existence until the police gave all three of them.

“They were written over a period, I think. And in the third of them she says she’s sorry about what happened. So we’re in a restorative justice process at the moment which may lead to me meeting her at some point before she’s released from prison.

“And I’d welcome that if that opportunity does arise. We’ll have to see whether it does or not.”

CCTV showed the attack at Stephen Timms' constituency surgery in 2010 CCTV showed the attack at Stephen Timms’ constituency surgery in 2010

The MP said Choudhry had been “radicalised” but added the event had “strengthened” his relationship with Muslim constituents, who offered support in the aftermath of the attack.

Important MPs are ‘accessible’ despite attacks

Mr Timms, who was a Treasury minister under the New Labour government, said he thought Choudhry was coming to shake his hand before the stabbing. He “wasn’t sure she succeeded” until he lifted his shirt in the men’s lavatories afterwards and saw “quite a lot of blood”.

He was told by doctors that the injuries were “life-threatening but not imminently life-threatening” after he suffered lacerations to the left lobe of his liver and a perforation to his stomach. 

Mr Timms also spoke of the “terrible loss” of Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in 2016. 

Thomas Mair, a 53-year-old gardener, was found guilty of her murder and other offences connected to the killing. 

However, Mr Timms warned that it was important MPs continued to “be accessible to their constituents” in spite of the growing sense of security risks that they face.

He added: “I think if we were to disappear behind some barriers, I think that would be a real loss to democracy in Britain.”

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