Stephen Timms

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Stephen Timms is the Labour MP for East Ham. He entered parliament in 1994.

Mr Timms describes himself as a 'Christian Socialist',[1] and is the Labour Vice Chair for Faith Groups.[2]

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Stephen Timms voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[3].

Politics and Religion

In November 2009, Mr Timms was quoted as having made statements which could raise concerns about his ability to separate his religion from his politics. Addressing the Christian "Festival of Life", he is reported to have said God was "calling us to be active in influencing and shaping our society."[4]

Mr Timms has praised faith initiatives, and said the Government had much to learn from Christian projects in order to create a “deep-rooted, progressive politics based on hope".

"We often hear you shouldn't mix faith and politics — that it is un seemly to mix them, perhaps even dangerous. I take the opposite view — that faith is a great starting point for politics — and, in particular, that faith offers a crucial contribution to a politics based on hope."[5]

Mr Timms sent out a form letter to all his Labour MP colleagues, enjoining them to send it out to their local churches for Christmas 2009. The letter included:

"As a Labour MP I strongly support a central role for faith in our society. I am delighted that we have a vibrant and active Christian community here in ____, as well as many people from other faith backgrounds. I am proud that, here in the UK, churches and other faith groups have a strong history of social action in our communities."[6]

Same-Sex Marriage

Mr Timms was one of only fourteen Labour MPs to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its Third Reading in May 2013[7].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Mr Timms voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[8]. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[9]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[10]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

References

  1. http://www.stephentimms.org.uk/christiansocialism
  2. http://www.labour.org.uk/faith/
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  4. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/mp.tells.10000.christians.to.claim.promise.of.jesus.for.capital/24751.htm
  5. http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=70122
  6. http://www.secularism.org.uk/labour-sucks-up-to-and-bribes-th.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+nssnews+(NSS+News)
  7. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Stephen_Timms
  8. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Stephen_Timms
  9. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500

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