I imagine there was a time, perhaps during Stanley Baldwin's first stint as prime minister, when an MP could pal around with his East London constituents without being stabbed in the stomach. But those days are long gone, as Labour MP Stephan Timms discovered this morning.
A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after Stephen Timms, the Labour MP, was stabbed while holding his constituency surgery in Beckton, East London.
Mr Timms, a former junior Treasury minister, was stabbed in the abdomen but is in a stable condition after being taken to hospital. The incident happened as Mr Timms, who is MP for East Ham, was holding his weekly surgery.
Timms's injures were not considered life-threatening. The Times notes that British people quite enjoy stabbing politicians: "In 2000, Nigel Jones, a Liberal Democrat MP, was wounded and his aide, Andrew Pennington, was stabbed to death in a frenzied samurai sword attack during a constituency surgery at the party's office in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire."
So what does one do to prevent future attacks? An introspective look at the "root causes" of MP stabbings? Shall it be required that all cutlery sold in the United Kingdom is made of plastic? Or will there be an outcry against the rise of samurai culture? The Times again:
The sale and hire of samurai-style swords could be banned after a police warning that they have become the weapons of choice for some criminals.
Ministers are also to consider outlawing the sale of decorative sci-fi "fantasy" knives, which some young people carry to gain street credibility, although they admit that it may prove too difficult to define them.
The moves were announced yesterday before a Home Office meeting today to discuss gangs, guns and knives.
Vernon Coaker, a Home Office minister, said: "Samurai-sword crime is low in volume but high in profile and I recognise it can have a devastating impact. Banning the sale, import and hire [of these swords] will take more dangerous weapons out of circulation, making our streets safer."
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