Profile: Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Poplar & Limehouse

On the 20th of March, LCID campaigned with the Minister for Food, Farming and the Environment Jim Fitzpatrick. Jim is Labour’s PPC in the Poplar and Limehouse constituency in East London, which has a very high Bangladeshi population.

Jim has an outstanding record on development issues in Bangladesh, where he visits annually with his wife, Dr. Sheila Fitzpatrick, and from where he had returned only four days earlier. During this latest trip Jim met the Bangladeshi Prime Minister to discuss British aid, and visited a catering institute providing employment and training, and HIV victims in a hospital in Sylhet, the region where the majority of the Bangladeshis in the East End of London originally hail from. Furthermore, he met with a Minister from the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs to discuss progress made on women’s rights.

Within his constituency, Jim has worked tirelessly at tackling poverty and racism, and is even currently learning Sylheti to engage with non English-speaking Bangladeshi constituents. Despite this hard work, Jim faces a real fight to keep his seat due to an adverse boundary change, the emergence of the Respect Party, and one of the highest numbers of new constituents in the country.

Bangladesh remains one of the world’s poorest countries and will be strongly hit by the negative effects of climate change in the coming years, unless firm action is taken now. LCID fully supports Jim’s campaign to be re-elected in Poplar and Limehouse so that he can continue to raise awareness and support international development efforts in Bangladesh.

by Sammy Beedan, LCID activist

The Global #changewesee

Over the last two weeks, hundreds of Labour activists have been tweeting about change they’ve seen in their communities. From new schools, to refurbished hospitals, to libraries, to SureStart centres, the campaign has catalogued hundreds of examples of the tangible differences that the Labour government has made in the last 13 years and reminded us of the stark choice we face at the next election.

But the truth is that #changewesee isn’t just in the UK but around the world. Thanks to the Labour Government’s commitment to alleviating poverty through the work of DFID, in the same way thousands of communities in the UK have benefited from our investment in schools and hospitals, so have tens of thousands of communities around the world thanks to the Government’s record of increasing aid and cancelling debt.

Very few Labour activists will have had the opportunity to see the transformation that has been made to communities around the world, but in their roles as ministers for International Development both Douglas Alexander MP and Mike Foster MP have had the opportunity. At the launch of LCID on Monday night, I asked them to share with us one example of #changewesee during their travels around the world.

Douglas Alexander shared about a primary school in Uganda, recalling how abolishing schools fees on the Friday, saw hundreds of extra children turn up eager to learn on the Monday. He said that each class was full of children, all sat quietly keen to learn. A stark reminder of the importance of how the UK government has been helping to unlock potential through its support for universal primary education.

Mike Foster MP talked about visiting Chars, low-lying sand islands in Bangladesh. He described how this community was prone to the effects of rising sea levels, but thanks to help from the UK government villagers had been able to raise their homes above the level of 2007 floods, develop sustainable livelihoods allowing them to earn an income through growing crops and by helping them to build latrines to reduce the incidence and spread of disease. You can find out more about the visit to Bangladesh in the video below;

If you have a global #changewesee that you have experienced and want to share, please get in touch with us by emailing tim@lcid.org.uk.

By Tom Baker