British MP Stephen Timms open to meeting extremist who stabbed him

Roshonara Choudhury sent the politician a letter with an apology from prison, where she is serving a life sentence

Stephen Timms said that he would welcome the opportunity to meet the woman who stabbed him more than 11 years ago as part of a "restorative justice process". Getty Images
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An Islamist extremist who stabbed a former UK government minister more than 11 years ago has written to him to apologise.

Roshonara Choudhry stabbed and wounded opposition Labour politician Stephen Timms during a meeting in 2010, saying it was in retaliation for him voting for war in Iraq. She is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

Since the attack, two British MPs have been killed in their constituencies. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in 2016 by a right-wing extremist, while a ruling party MP, David Amess, was stabbed to death last year.

Mr Timms said that police had handed him three letters written by Choudhry, with the last one containing an apology.

“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 me all three of them,” Mr Timms told television network GB News.

“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.”

Choudhry was told that she would serve a minimum of 15 years in prison for the attack.

Mr Timms said he thought Choudhry was coming to shake his hand before the stabbing, and “wasn't sure she succeeded” until he lifted his shirt in the men's toilets and saw “quite a lot of blood".

He was stabbed twice in the stomach leaving him with injuries that were “life-threatening but not imminently life-threatening”, he was told by doctors.

Choudhry had been a promising university student but dropped out after deciding to murder a politician in revenge for Muslims killed in the Iraq war.

She was radicalised after finding teachings on YouTube by the Yemen-based extremist Anwar Al Awlaki.

“I feel like I did what I'd planned to do,” she said in police interviews in the immediate aftermath of the attack. She said she planned to be a martyr.

“I feel like I've ruined the rest of my life. I feel like it's worth it because millions of Iraqis are suffering and I should do what I can to help them and not just be inactive and do nothing while they suffer.”

The politician said that the attempted assassination had strengthened his relationship with Muslims in his East London constituency who offered support following the attack.

Updated: January 05, 2022, 2:36 PM