James Fitzpatrick (born 4 April 1952) 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.
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 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 claiming he was "opposed to military intervention in Syria, full stop".
Member of Parliament
He was selected as the Labour candidate over two sitting MPs Mildred Gorden 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, 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.
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.
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. Fitzpatrick was promoted to Minister of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the June 2009 reshuffle.
In August 2009, Fitzpatrick decided to leave the 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".
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. 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.
He was campaign manager for former Labour MP Oona King in her failed attempt to be endorsed as the Labour candidate in the 2012 London mayoral election, 2012.
From 2010 until his resignation in 2013, he served as Shadow Minister of State for Transport, covering aviation, shipping and road safety, his former ministerial brief.
2015 and 2017 parliament
Fitzpatrick was one of 13 MPs to vote against triggering the 2017 general election.