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 1990 Stephen became the president of the National Union of Students.
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.
In 2010 he was elected as Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby. In October 2011 Stephen served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education for two years and now chairs the International Development Select Committee.
He is an active constituency MP. Stephen is a patron of Merseyside Motor Neurone Disease Association, Amputees and Carer Support in Liverpool (ACSIL) and Merseyside Domestic Violence Services.
Stephen is also a member of the shop workers trade union Usdaw.