Jim Fitzpatrick (politician)

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Jim Fitzpatrick
Jim Fitzpatrick.jpg
Minister of State for Farming and the Environment
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Jane Kennedy
Succeeded by James Paice
Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
28 June 2007 – 8 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Mike O'Brien
Succeeded by Chris Mole
Minister for London
In office
6 May 2005 – 28 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Keith Hill
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell
Member of Parliament
for Poplar and Limehouse
Poplar and Canning Town (1997–2010)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 16,924 (33.1%)
Personal details
Born (1952-04-04) 4 April 1952 (age 63)
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Jane Lowe
Children 2[1]
Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website www.jimfitzpatrick.org.uk

James Fitzpatrick (born 4 April 1952) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Poplar and Limehouse since the 2010 General Election. From 1997 to the 2010 election he was the member for Poplar and Canning Town. He was Minister of State for Farming and the Environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during the Brown Ministry. On 29 August 2013, he resigned from his front bench role as shadow transport spokesman in order to vote against both Labour and Government motions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria[2] claiming he was "opposed to military intervention in Syria, full stop".[3] On 18 Mar 2003 he voted that the Government should use all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction leading to the UK joining the US invasion of Iraq two days later.[4]

Early and personal life[edit]

Fitzpatrick was born in Glasgow, Scotland and was educated locally at the Holyrood R.C. Secondary School in Crosshill.[5] From 1970 he was a trainee with Tytrak in Glasgow, before moving to London in 1973 to become a driver with Mintex. In 1974 he became a firefighter with the London Fire Brigade, being decorated with the Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal[6][7] in 1994, and left the fire service upon his election to Westminster.

He is married to Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick and has two children from a previous marriage.[8] He supports Wapping Hockey Club and West Ham United Football Club,[9] enjoys watching cricket and is also a vegetarian.

In 2011, Fitzpatrick was honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London and subsequently was admitted as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.

Political career[edit]

Fitzpatrick was elected as the chair of the Barking Constituency Labour Party for a year in 1989, and was chairman of the Greater London Labour Party for nine years from 1991.

Member of Parliament[edit]

He was selected as the Labour candidate over two sitting MPs Max Madden and Nigel Spearing.

He was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for the newly created seat of Poplar and Canning Town in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets at the 1997 General Election with a majority of 18,915 and has remained the MP there since. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 17 June 1997.

In 1999 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alan Milburn,[5] until becoming the Secretary of State for Health later in the same year. After the 2001 General Election Fitzpatrick became a member of the Tony Blair Government as an Assistant Government Whip, becoming a Lord Commissioner to the Treasury (Government Whip) in 2002. He was again promoted within the Whips Office in 2003 when he became the Vice-Chamberlain of HM's Household.

2005 Parliament[edit]

Fitzpatrick was re-elected in the 2005 General Election, and was then appointed a junior minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with the role of Minister for London, a role he took with him on his subsequent move to the Department of Trade and Industry in May 2006. In 2007 he argued against a CWU strike saying it would harm their cause.

On 29 June 2007 he moved to become the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, with Shipping amongst his responsibilities,[10] and was replaced as Minister for London by Tessa Jowell.

In 2008 during the Christmas period, Fitzpatrick and his wife visited Bangladesh, touring the development projects supported by the Canary Wharf Group. The purpose of the trip was to re-visit the country since 1999, and see the regeneration projects that this group supports. During his visit, he visited the Football Academy in Dhaka, also to Jagannathpur and Sylhet, where many Bangladeshis in the UK originate from including many in his constituency.[11]

Fitzpatrick was promoted to Minister of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs[1] in the June 2009 reshuffle.

In August 2009, Fitzpatrick decided to leave the wedding of a Muslim couple in his constituency when he was told it would be segregated by gender. In a local newspaper article, he blamed the Islamic Forum Europe for encouraging segregation though the couple claimed Fitzpatrick had "hijacked [the wedding] for political gain." Fitzpatrick said he had left the wedding as discreetly as possible. "It was never my intention to offend Mr Islam and if he thinks that I done so then of course I will apologise to him.[12]

2010 Parliament[edit]

Following boundary changes, Fitzpatrick contested the newly created Poplar and Limehouse constituency in 2010, and was re-elected with a 4.7% swing to Labour, contrary to the national swing.[13] With the realigned boundaries, the seat had been considered the Conservative Party's target seat number 105; Fitzpatrick also defeated the Respect Party's only MP, George Galloway.[14]

He was the campaign manager for former Labour MP Oona King in her failed attempt to become the Labour candidate in the 2012 London Mayoral Election.[15]

From 2010 until his resignation in 2013 he has served as Shadow Minister of State for Transport,[16][17] covering aviation, shipping and roads policy, his former Ministerial brief.


  1. ^ a b c Millward, David (13 August 2009). "Jim Fitzpatrick: profile of a sure-footed minister". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  2. ^ "Shadow Minister resigns from Labour front bench over Syria vote". labourlist.org. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-08-29/labour-shadow-minister-resigns-over-miliband-syria-stance/
  4. ^ http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10199/jim_fitzpatrick/poplar_and_limehouse/divisions?policy=1049
  5. ^ a b "JIM FITZPATRICK MP APPOINTED PPS TO CHIEF SECRETARY ALAN MILBURN". HM Treasury. 1999-09-24. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  6. ^ www.cfoa.org.uk
  7. ^ www.medals.org.uk
  8. ^ www.publicserviceevents.co.uk
  9. ^ "Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State". Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 9 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  10. ^ Shipping Minister opens PLA Centenary Exhibition
  11. ^ Jim Fitzpatrick MP re-visits Bangladesh Labour Party LBTH.
  12. ^ Caroline Gammell and Martin Beckford (14 August 2009). "Jim Fitzpatrick condemned for 'hijacking' Muslim wedding by bridegroom". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  13. ^ "Election 2010 - Constituency - Poplar & Limehouse". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "George Galloway's Respect Party defeated by Labour". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  15. ^ Morris, Nigel (28 June 2010). "Oona King: 'I can appeal to Tories as well'". London: The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Caroline Crampton (11 October 2010). "Shadow cabinet: junior appointments in full". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Jim Fitzpatrick". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(New constituency)
Member of Parliament for Poplar and Canning Town
Succeeded by
(Constituency abolished)
Preceded by
(New constituency)
Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerry Sutcliffe
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
John Heppell
Preceded by
Keith Hill
Minister for London
Succeeded by
Tessa Jowell
Preceded by
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Chris Mole
Preceded by
Jane Kennedy
Minister of State for Farming and the Environment
Succeeded by
James Paice