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Jim Fitzpartick
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02 Sep


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September 2, 2013 | By | No Comments

I have been humbled and proud to receive so many messages of support regarding my stance on Syria. For those of you who missed it here’s my Commons speech below:

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab): It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan). She is obviously thinking hard about how to vote later, and I know that a lot of right hon. and hon. Members feel the same way.

I wish briefly to address the words of the corrected motion and the intent behind it, then I will turn to the Opposition amendment. First, however, I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Foreign

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Secretary on effectively putting the brakes on a Government who were heading for military action this weekend. Of that I think the House can agree there is no doubt. My right hon. Friends have served the country and the Commons well through their actions, especially over the past 24 hours, and I hope that the Opposition will continue to lead in the same way and act as a restraint on the Government.

This is not the debate that the House expected to have, it is certainly not the debate that No. 10 was planning, and it is not the one that the media predicted would happen, but there have none the less been some excellent contributions. Despite the fact that there will be another debate and vote next week, this has been a useful exercise in testing the issues at stake.

I turn to the motion, which I have real problems supporting. That is not because I am a supporter of President Assad—I am not—but neither do I support the jihadist element of the Syrian Opposition that has been referred to in many contributions today. The wording of the corrected motion is important. The first and second paragraphs are straightforward in their commentary and condemnation. The third introduces the requirement of military action, and the fourth, fifth and sixth are very instructive. The fourth notes

“the failure of the United Nations”.

That is the softening-up line. The fifth notes

“that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime…and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action”.

The sixth mentions the “wide international support”, including from the Arab League, for action from the international community.

The right hon. and learned Member for North East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) said that tonight’s vote was not really important, because the important vote would be next week. I say to the Liberal Democrats in particular that if we get another debate and a vote next week, I predict that those words will come back to haunt them. The Conservatives are boxing them in by saying, “You’ve got to support military action, since the UN has failed, and we don’t need it anyway. We’ve got legitimacy, because the Attorney-General says so, and we’ve got international coalition support. It’s only the Russians and Chinese who don’t support it.”

Mrs Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) (Lab): Is my hon. Friend aware that the general secretary of the Arab League has tonight said on CNN that it shies away from backing western intervention, and that it would intensify anti-US feeling in the region? Those of us who have been sitting here all day have had a chance to google.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing that information to the House. It clearly demonstrates the fragility of the international coalition lined up behind the attempt to intervene militarily in Syria.

The Opposition amendment, it is fair to say, is at least more open and honest. However, from my reading it essentially endorses the same principle: if we address certain issues and if certain conditions are met, military action can happen. I do not believe that it should happen under any circumstances. The Opposition amendment is stronger and clearer, but whereas the

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Government motion is explicit in its direction of travel towards military action, the Opposition amendment states that we will go there if the conditions in six of the paragraphs it lays out are met. My concern is about the end game and the exit strategy. There have been many excellent contributions to the debate—

Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) (Con): Paragraph (e) of the Opposition amendment refers to

“precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria”.

What are those “precise and achievable objectives”?

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have exactly the same difficulty as the hon. Gentleman—I do not know what they are either. I do not think that they are identifiable. I do not think that they are achievable. My objection, as I was saying a moment ago, is that there is not an exit strategy or an end game. There have been many contributions to the debate in which colleagues have said, “If we do this, that will happen. If we do not do that, this will happen.” Only one thing is absolutely guaranteed: nobody knows what will happen if we go down the road of military action. We have seen that too often in recent decades. The difficulty I have is the fact that we do not have an exit strategy.

In conclusion, and for the hon. Gentleman’s information, I have problems with both the Government motion and the Opposition amendment. Ultimately, I do not believe that either is able to achieve the honourable ends that both sides of the House want. I am opposed to military intervention in Syria full stop. To be honest and consistent on both questions, I will vote in the No Lobby against the Government motion and against the Opposition amendment.

21 Aug


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We must fight knife crime

August 21, 2013 | By | No Comments

DSC_0023I was shocked and horrified to hear the news a young boy was stabbed in Spey Street, Poplar last week. In one month this community has lost two decent people, who had their lives ahead of them, because of a knife. Both of them were keen boxing enthusiasts, Liam had just passed his driving test and Ajmol was due to collect his GCSE results this week.

When we hear about such tragedies our first reaction is to mourn the loss of life. Our next reaction is then to look at the cause behind these terrible murders, often with fear and anger. Knife crime has always been a problem but, no matter how much we hear that it’s getting better, when something like this happens on our doorstep it shakes the belief that our neighbourhoods are becoming safer.

We must, however, take solace in the community and police response to these tragedies.The Met’s reaction is certainly worthy of considerable praise.In relation to both killings officers have apprehended suspects within 24 hours and they’ve also been there to reassure people.The community, for its part, has shown that these crimes are a rare occurrence, committed by cowards who are the only people standing in the way of progress.

In the coming months and years we must continue the good work that’s already making our streets safer in the hope that one day stabbings like these will be a thing of the past.


07 Aug


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I want your view on cycle safety

August 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

I’m calling on constituents to get in touch with their views on cycle safety in London ahead of a Commons debate on cycling.

MPs will be debating 18 Get Britain Cycling safety recommendations that could make cycling safer and more popular for millions of people in Britain when we return in September. After hearing from several constituents who have a strong view on cycle safety in the capital I want to put the views of my constituents, if I’m chosen to speak, at the heart of my speech.

A personal view on cycle safety from local people will be an invaluable resource going into the debate.

Instead of telling people what I’m going to say I want to hear from people and give constituents the chance be a part of this very important conversation on cycle safety.

The public can let me know what they think by tweeting @FitzMP, by using the comments section below or by emailing on jim.fitzpatrick.mp@parliament.uk. Please entitle all emails ‘Cycle Safe’. Comments used in the Commons speech will be credited.

31 Jul


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Dot Dot Dot

July 31, 2013 | By | No Comments


Last week I got to see the fantastic Dot Dot Dot project in action. Dot Dot Dot lets people who do great volunteering live as property guardians in buildings that would otherwise be empty. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the guardians who deserve recognition for the fantastic community work they’re doing. More information here: http://www.dotdotdotproperty.com/.

30 Jul


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Cycling deaths are unacceptable

July 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

This is my latest column for local newspaper The Wharf:

Cycling has been on my mind this week. We all heard the tragic news that a man from Poplar had become the third cyclist to die on the city’s streets in three weeks; constituents have got in touch about the #CycleSafe Commons debate in September; and I’ve been taking advantage of the weather to cycle in to Westminster whenever possible.

All this has made me think of the huge discussion we’ve had on cycling for the last few years.

It’s because of this debate we now know what we have to do to make our roads safe and encourage people to get on a bike.

More investment, safer road design, lower speed limits, better HGV safety and driver training are just some of the many proposals which can turn words into action.

Cyclists also have a part to play, they must lead by example and abide by the rules as well as drivers.

And that’s what needs to happen now, we must reassure cyclists and people who haven’t got on a bike yet that we’re on their side and working harder than ever to make it safe.

It is unacceptable and wholly wrong that three cyclists have died on the capital’s roads in the past three weeks and this must change.

We’re only at the start of what could be a cycling revolution in this country.

There are only two things stopping us, the first is the legitimate fear cyclists have of our roads and the second is the work we must do on our roads to match the size of our ambition and reassure cyclists it’s safe.

30 Jul


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Search begins for Digital Hero in Tower Hamlets

July 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

I’m calling for local groups to enter the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2013, a competition that recognises and rewards people who are using technology to help their communities.

The awards, now in their sixth year, have provided funding and support to 62 organisations across Britain, including various charities which have used technology to help children and youth, the homeless and people with disabilities.

The awards, run in partnership with the Daily Mirror and charities Citizens Online and Go ON UK, aim to recognise inspirational people who use technology to benefit their local community. Twelve winners, one from each region of the UK – voted for by the public – will each get £5,000 to enhance their digital projects, with one overall winner getting £10,000.

Digital plays an increasingly important role in everyday life, helping to improve the community and encourage the growth of small businesses. Digital Heroes is an initiative which recognises people and organisations who have worked hard to champion technology and make a difference to their community.

I hope that projects in Tower Hamlets will be able to benefit from this year’s competition and I will be encouraging local groups and individuals to enter.

The awards are now open for submissions at www.talktalkdigitalheroes.co.uk and the deadline for entries is August 14, 2013. The Twitter hashtag for the awards is #digitalheroes.

30 Jul


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Jim Fitzpatrick MP voices support for Lung Cancer Nurses

July 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

Kay Rowe,Jane Drescher and Jim Fitzpatrick MPThis week I met lung cancer nurse specialists at an event in Parliament organised by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses (NLCFN) .

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet the nurses who know first-hand how important it is that people with lung cancer receive the care they need.  Thousands of people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and the care lung cancer nurse specialists provide is invaluable.

We must ensure that every lung cancer patient can see a lung cancer nurse specialist at every stage of their care and treatment.

I will be urging local services to ensure that patients with lung cancer are able to access lung cancer nurse specialists, to give them the best possible care to cope with the impact of the disease.

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP