Jim Fitzpatrick (politician)

James Fitzpatrick (born 4 April 1952) is a British Labour politician and former firefighter, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Poplar and Limehouse from the 2010 general election until the 2019 general election. From 1997 to the 2010 election he was the Member for Poplar and Canning Town.

Jim Fitzpatrick
Minister of State for Farming and the Environment
In office
8 June 2009  11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateHilary Benn
Preceded byJane Kennedy
Succeeded byJames Paice
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
28 June 2007  8 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateRuth Kelly
Geoff Hoon
Preceded byGillian Merron
Succeeded byChris Mole
Minister for London
In office
6 May 2005  28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byKeith Hill
Succeeded byTessa Jowell
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
13 June 2003  6 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byGerry Sutcliffe
Succeeded byJohn Heppell
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
29 May 2002  13 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
ChancellorGordon Brown
Preceded byAnne McGuire
Succeeded byJoan Ryan
Member of Parliament
for Poplar and Limehouse
Poplar and Canning Town (1997–2010)
In office
1 May 1997  6 November 2019
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byApsana Begum
Personal details
Born (1952-04-04) 4 April 1952
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Jane Lowe
Awards Fire Brigade Medal

Fitzpatrick served as Minister of State for Farming and the Environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during the Brown ministry.

In June 2019, he announced that he would not stand for re-election to parliament.

Early life

Fitzpatrick was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and educated locally at the Holyrood R.C. Secondary School in Crosshill.[2] 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 joined the London Fire Brigade as a firefighter, being decorated with the Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1994.[3][4] He left the fire service when he was elected to the House of Commons in 1997.

Fitzpatrick was elected as the chair of the Barking Constituency Labour Party, and was chair of the Greater London Labour Party for seven years.

Parliamentary career

Member of Parliament

Fitzpatrick was selected as the Labour candidate over two sitting MPs, Mildred Gordon 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. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 17 June 1997.

Fitzpatrick was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Alan Milburn in 1999,[2] until Milburn became the Secretary of State for Health later in the same year. After the 2001 general election, Fitzpatrick was appointed to government by Tony Blair 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

Fitzpatrick was re-elected in the 2005 general election, and was then appointed a junior minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, then John Prescott, 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, aviation and road safety amongst his responsibilities,[5] 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.[6] Fitzpatrick was promoted to Minister of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs[1] in the June 2009 reshuffle. He kept this role until Labour's defeat at the 2010 General Election.

In August 2009, Fitzpatrick left a wedding at the London Muslim Centre 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 stated 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".[7]

2010 Parliament

Following boundary changes, Fitzpatrick contested the newly created Poplar and Limehouse constituency in 2010, and was returned with a 4.7% swing to Labour, contrary to the national swing against the party.[8] With the realigned boundaries, the seat had been considered the Conservative Party's target seat number 105; Fitzpatrick also defeated the Respect Party's George Galloway, who came third behind the Conservatives.[9]

He was campaign manager for former Labour MP Oona King (Baroness King of Bow) in her failed attempt to be endorsed as the Labour candidate in the 2012 London Mayoral Election.[10]

From 2010 until his resignation in 2013, he served as Shadow Minister of State for Transport,[11][12] covering aviation, shipping and road safety, his former ministerial brief.

Fitzpatrick is a parliamentary supporter of Labour Friends of Israel.[13]

In 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 Syria[14] stating he was "opposed to military intervention in Syria, full stop".[15]

2015 and 2017 parliament

In December 2015, Fitzpatrick voted for the use of UK air strikes in Syria against ISIS.[16]

Fitzpatrick was one of 13 MPs to vote against triggering the 2017 general election.[17]

Fitzpatrick has spoken of a desire to implement the decision of the 2016 Brexit referendum and was one of five Labour rebels to support Theresa May's Brexit deal in March 2019;[18] he has voted against proposals for softer forms of Brexit such as EEA membership,[19] against party colleague, Yvette Cooper's amendment to delay Brexit to avoid no deal and for then chair of the Conservative backbench committee Graham Brady's amendment to weaken the Northern Irish backstop.[20]

In June 2019, he announced that he would not stand for re-election to parliament, fearing local CLP moves to deselect him as a result of serial abuse of authority and allegations of harassment[21]

Personal life and honours

Fitzpatrick is married to Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick.[22] He has two children from a previous marriage.[23] A supporter of Millwall Rugby Club, Poplar Bowls, Wapping Hockey Club and West Ham United Football Club,[24] he enjoys watching sports.

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. In 2017, he was elected to the Court of the Shipwrights Livery and made a Younger Brother at Trinity House. He is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[25]


  1. Millward, David (13 August 2009). "Jim Fitzpatrick: profile of a sure-footed minister". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  2. "JIM FITZPATRICK MP APPOINTED PPS TO CHIEF SECRETARY ALAN MILBURN". HM Treasury. 24 September 1999. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  3. www.cfoa.org.uk Archived 31 July 2012 at Archive.today
  4. "ODM of the United Kingdom: Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal". www.medals.org.uk.
  5. "Shipping Minister opens PLA Centenary Exhibition". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012.
  6. Jim Fitzpatrick MP re-visits Bangladesh Archived 18 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine Labour Party LBTH.
  7. Caroline Gammell and Martin Beckford (14 August 2009). "Jim Fitzpatrick condemned for 'hijacking' Muslim wedding by bridegroom". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  8. "Election 2010 – Constituency – Poplar & Limehouse". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  9. "George Galloway's Respect Party defeated by Labour". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  10. Morris, Nigel (28 June 2010). "Oona King: 'I can appeal to Tories as well'". London: The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  11. Caroline Crampton (11 October 2010). "Shadow Cabinet: junior appointments in full". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  12. "Jim Fitzpatrick". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  13. "2014 11 – Parliamentary Notes". Labour Affairs Magazine. November 2014.
  14. "Shadow Minister resigns from Labour front bench over Syria vote". labourlist.org. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  15. "Labour frontbencher opposed to Syria military action 'full stop' resigns". The Guardian. Press Association. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  16. "Syria air strikes: MPs authorise UK action against Islamic State". BBC News. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  17. "The 13 MPs who opposed snap general election". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  18. correspondent, Jessica Elgot Chief political (29 March 2019). "Only two more Labour MPs switch sides to back May's Brexit deal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  19. "Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick comes out for the Brexit deal – but who will follow him?". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  20. "Calls for Labour MPs to face disciplinary action". 31 January 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  21. Acton, Luke (25 June 2019). "Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick announces he won't stand for re-election". East London Advertiser. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  22. Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 July 2010 (pt 0004)". www.publications.parliament.uk.
  23. "Public Service Events". www.publicserviceevents.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012.
  24. "Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State". Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 9 November 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  25. "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Poplar and Canning Town
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse
Succeeded by
Apsana Begum
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
Gillian Merron
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
Party political offices
Preceded by
Glenys Thornton
Chair of the London Labour Party
Succeeded by
Chris Robbins
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