Former pensions minister appointed committee chairman

Former pensions minister appointed committee chairman

Former pensions minister Stephen Timms has been elected as the chairman of the work and pensions committee.

He takes over from Frank Field who was not re-elected as MP for Birkenhead in the December general election.

Mr Timms was nominated for the role alongside Labour MPs Debbie Abrahams, Chris Bryant, and Karen Buck.

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The MP for East Ham since 1994, Mr Timms was pensions minister in 2005/06 and again in 2008. In 2010, he was stabbed in front of constituents by former student and Islamic extremist Roshonara Choudhry, who claimed the stabbing was because of Britain's involvement in the Iraq War.

She was found guilty of attempted murder and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years, and the community rallied round him during his recovery.

A committed Christian, Mr Timms has always had the full support of the local Islamic community, who told him he would always have their vote because they trusted him to do the right thing. 

Mr Timms was also one of the few MPs who expressed support for Financial Adviser's Question of Trust campaign, which we ran together with financial planner Shane Mullins, founder of Fiscal Engineers.

This was an endeavour launched in 2011 to 2012 to help restore trust in financial services after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and garnered some high-profile backers, such as Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Romain.

Mr Timms was the shadow minister for employment from 2010 until September 2015 and previously sat on the exiting the European Union select committee.

He has also held other governmental roles such as chief secretary to the Treasury and financial secretary to the Treasury. 

Before joining Parliament, he worked in the telecommunications industry for 15 years, first for Logica, a management consulting company, and then for Ovum, a consultancy company. 

Mr Timms previously said the committee’s “important work in monitoring progress with auto-enrolment and the pensions dashboard must continue”, and that he welcomed the cross-party consensus in favour of collective defined contribution pensions.

He was also vocal on combating scams, saying: “Too many of those taking advantage of pension freedoms have fallen prey to fraudsters. The committee should review the protections and support in place for savers."

Mr Timms said: "It's a huge privilege to be elected chairman. The committee has a great deal on its plate in this parliament."

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