Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Saturday, 15 May 2010 13:54 UK

MP Stephen Timms recovering after stab attack

Stpehen Timms MP
Stephen Timms is expected to be sent home in the next few days

Labour MP Stephen Timms is said to be "in good spirits" in hospital after being stabbed twice in the stomach by a woman at his constituency surgery.

The former treasury minister, 54, was left covered in blood after the attack in Newham, east London, on Friday.

A spokesman for the Royal London Hospital said he was recovering well following an operation on stab wounds.

A 21-year-old woman who was arrested at the scene is being questioned by police, who recovered a knife.

'Comfortable and resting'

The hospital spokeswoman said on Saturday: "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."

It is understood one of the MP's assistants, Andrew Bazeley, disarmed Mr Timms' attacker before a security guard restrained her.

One witness at the surgery in Beckton Globe library said she saw East Ham MP Mr Timms being carried into a room wearing a bloodstained shirt.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales told BBC Radio 4: "My understanding is that he didn't recognise her at all.

"Why do you stab somebody? You go in to see somebody who is trying to help people and you stab him. Why do you do that? I think there are mental health issues.

"I can't imagine any other reason and if any other reason is given, it is still for me a mad thing to do."

But while the incident has prompted a security review, MPs are being urged not to reduce their contact with the public.

Police outside Beckton Globe Library
Mr Timms was holding a surgery at a library at the time of the attack

Sir Robin added: "It can't happen. No MP could do that - if you cut yourself off from your constituency and your voters, what are you there for?

"You need to talk to local people. The elected representatives usually live in the community they represent.

"They have to talk to people, they have to be available to people. People recognise them as they are walking down the street.

"Stephen is very popular and very well-known in the constituency."

Newham Council said it was reviewing security arrangements following the attack.

A spokeswoman said: "Stephen is a popular MP, well-respected by local residents and we wish him a speedy recovery.

"Part of being a political representative is about being accessible and holding surgeries in community locations.

Sword attack

"You cannot vet people who attend such surgeries. We have security at this centre but will review arrangements in light of this incident."

Mr Timms, a former financial secretary to the Treasury, has regularly spoken out against knife crime in his constituency.

In 2000, Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones was wounded and his aide Andrew Pennington was stabbed to death in a frenzied sword attack during a constituency surgery at the party's office in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Mr Jones, a married father-of-three, was conducting his weekly surgery when he received cuts to his hands and arms after fending off blows from Robert Ashman, who was later jailed for manslaughter and attempted murder.

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