Stephen was born in 1966 in Enfield where he attended the local comprehensive school, Southgate. He went on to study Politics & Economics at Oxford University. In 1997 he defeated the then Defence Secretary Michael Portillo to win the constituency of Enfield Southgate.
He subsequently served as the Labour MP for Enfield Southgate for 8 years and was a Government Minister for 4 years between 2001-2005. He served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (2001-2) and as an Education Minister (2002-5).
Between 2005-2010 he worked for the Foreign Policy Centre, the Holocaust Centre and the Aegis Trust (a genocide prevention charity).
In 2010 he was elected as Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Liverpool, West Derby with a majority of 18,467. Since his election he has served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Harriet Harman MP between May and September 2010 and in October 2010 was appointed as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, and later as Shadow Education Secretary.
Stephen divides his time between his constituency and Westminster and has a flat in Knotty Ash. He is an active constituency MP. He is Chair of the Liverpool domestic violence charity Chrysalis.
Stephen is also a member of the shopworkers trade union Usdaw.