Stephen Timms 'cannot forgive attacker without meeting face-to-face'

MP Stephen Timms says the support from groups during the pandemic has been crucial.

Stephen Timms tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the government to introduce Sharia-compliant student loans - Credit: Archant

Stephen Timms has said he cannot forgive the woman who attacked him unless they meet face-to-face.

The MP for East Ham has received letters from Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed him twice in the stomach at his constituency surgery in Beckton in May 2010.

But he told the BBC: "I cannot forgive her unless I meet her face-to-face."

Choudhry is serving a life sentence after being found guilty of attempted murder in November 2010.

"I would like to meet her and ask her why she did what she did. On the basis of the letters she has sent to me, it seems she has thought a lot about that and we would probably have a worthwhile conversation," he said.

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Roshonara Choudhry was found guilty of attempted murder in November 2010. - Credit: Archant

But Mr Timms added: "It's impossible to forgive somebody without having some kind of relationship and that's why I'd like face-to-face contact."

The comments follow Mr Timms urging parliamentarians not to give up on meeting constituents following the fatal stabbing of Southend West MP Sir David Amess.

He was speaking in the House of Commons as MPs paid their respects to Plaistow-born Sir David, who died at his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday (October 15).

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess has lost his life after being stabbed today - October 15 - at a cons

Conservative MP Sir David Amess has lost his life after being stabbed today - October 15 - at a constituency surgery. - Credit: PA

Sir David's death has sparked debate about the safety of elected representatives and comes five years after Labour Party MP Jo Cox was murdered.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Timms said: "We mustn't give up on the accessibility of members of Parliament. If we do, the sponsors of those who attacked David, and who attacked me, will have succeeded.

"That must not happen."

He added Sir David was accessible to his constituents. "Tragically, he has now given his life. We will rightly reflect on what more we can do to stop that happening again."

Mr Timms suggested the police could be asked to review appointment lists ahead of MPs' surgeries.

During his speech in Parliament, Mr Timms also hailed Sir David as an enthusiast for Newham where the Hammers fan was born, grew up and attended "the excellent" St Bonaventure's School.

Sir David's role in securing cross-party support for Stratford as a stop on the Channel Tunnel rail line was described as "crucial" by Mr Timms.

"Newham has lost a great friend," he said.

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