British Labour politician. He was a member of Parliament for Newham North East 1994–97 and for the new London consituency of East Ham from 1997. He was chief secretary to the Treasury with cabinet rank 2006–07, minister of state for competitiveness June 2007–January 2008, minister of state for employment and welfare reform January–October 2008, and financial secretary to the Treasury 2008–10. As patron of the Christian Socialist Movement, he had a particular interest in urban regeneration. In May 2010 he survived a murder attempt by a constituent who was an al-Qaeda sympathizer and who disagreed with Timms' voting in parliament for the Iraq War. In October 2010, he became shadow minister of state for employment.
In January 1999 he became a minister of state in the Department of Social Security. He served as financial secretary to the Treasury three times, in 1999–2001, 2004–05, and 2008–10; as a minister of state for school standards 2001–02; as minister for e-commerce 2002–04; and as pensions minister 2005–06, before being promoted to the Cabinet in May 2006 as chief secretary to the Treasury.
Born in Oldham, Lancashire, he studied mathematics at Cambridge University and worked for 15 years in the computing and telecommunications industry until his election to the House of Commons in a by-election in June 1994. From 1984 he was also a local government councillor in Newham in east London, leading the council from 1990 to 1994.