Stephen Creswell Timms (born 29 July 1955) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Ham since 1997. He has sat in Parliament since retaining the earlier Newham North East seat for his party at a 1994 byelection. Timms served in the government for several periods as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, from 1999 to 2001, 2004 to 2005, and 2008 to 2010.
He was also in the Cabinet from 2006 to 2007 as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2006 to 2007. With a majority of 27,826 at the 2010 general election, Timms had the largest vote share of any sitting MP, gaining 70.4% of the local vote.
At the 2017 general election, Timms' majority increased to 40,000 votes, making his the safest seat in the UK, with 83.2% of the vote.
He returned to the backbenches in September 2015.
Member of Parliament
The Labour MP for Newham North East, Ron Leighton, died in February 1994. Timms was selected as the Labour candidate for the resulting by-election in June 1994. He won the seat with 75% of the votes.
For the next election, his constituency was merged with part of Newham South, and at the general election in May 1997 Timms was elected MP for the resulting new constituency of East Ham.
Timms served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Andrew Smith from May 1997 to March 1998, and later to Mo Mowlam from March to July 1998.
In 1998, Timms was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security, rising to Minister of State in that department the following year. He served as Minister of State for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, and Minister of State for Energy, E-Commerce and Postal Services, at the Department of Trade and Industry; Minister of State for School Standards at the Department for Education and Skills; Minister of State for Pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions; and served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1999 to 2001, September 2004 to May 2005, and October 2008 to May 2010.
In May 2006, Timms was promoted to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Chancellor's second-in-command with responsibility for department budget issues, a post in which he remained until 28 June 2007, when he was dropped from the cabinet by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It was later announced that he had been appointed Minister of State for Competitiveness at the newly created Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform.
Following the government reshuffle on 24 January 2008—a result of the resignation of Peter Hain, Timms moved to the Department for Work and Pensions, and became Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform.
Tony McNulty replaced Timms on 3 October 2008, who returned to his former role as Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
In August 2009, Timms was given additional responsibility for Digital Britain.
Timms was appointed to the role of Shadow Minister for Employment after the election of Edward Miliband as party leader.