Joe FitzPatrick MSP

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Joe FitzPatrick MSP

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  • Member for: Dundee City West
  • Region: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Joe is a member of the following Committees:

Joe is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Joe FitzPatrick

I am not going to stand here and tell schools how to provide education, but I think that we should learn from the best and, in schools where such debates took place, the young people appreciated it because it gave them the ability to make the most informed decision possible. As Mr Griffin mentioned, that was probably the age group who changed their vote most often as they heard the arguments and decided for themselves. The days of young people voting as their parents voted and for no other purpose are gone. Young people have shown that they are going to make up their own minds and make their own decisions on the basis of the facts as they see them.

As members, we all know of examples in our constituencies of young people being given the opportunity to engage, learn and make mature, thoughtful and responsible decisions. They have grasped every opportunity willingly and with ability. Scotland’s young people have amply demonstrated their enthusiasm, engagement and willingness to participate in the democratic process. They have not taken that responsibility lightly, and neither should we.

A lot has been said about the record-breaking turnout and unprecedented levels of engagement by the people of Scotland. Scotland should be proud of the fact that we are now the most democratically engaged nation in western Europe. We must not lose the momentum that was reflected in the substantial number of people who voted for the first time, including 16 and 17-year-olds, and the Scottish Government is committed to playing its part in achieving that ambition.

Our programme for government that was published in November 2014 set out our commitment to learn lessons from the referendum, as Patrick Harvie mentioned, and to continue the process of making voting more meaningful for our people and communities. In particular, we want to ensure that young people have the opportunity to engage meaningfully with and shape the democratic debate, as they did ahead of the referendum. It has long been the Scottish Government’s policy to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds where we can do so, and we did that for the referendum because it was the right thing to do to encourage the participation of young people in Scotland’s democratic processes and give them a voice on matters that affect them.

We have had success on that front, and I am delighted that there is now cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament for extending the franchise to include 16 and 17-year-olds for the Scottish Parliament and local government elections. I am delighted that we now have a deal with the UK Government to transfer the required powers to make that possible, and the Scottish Government now intends to bring forward legislation to the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible after the order in question is in force to lower the voting age to 16 for those elections, which will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament and local government elections and all future elections.

During the debate on 23 September 2014, the then First Minister called on all parties to take a vow to urge the UK Government to build on the success of the referendum and to lower the voting age to 16 for all elections. However, many young people who participated in the referendum in September will be somewhat disappointed that they cannot participate in the Westminster elections that will take place in May—Mark Griffin described feeling a similar frustration when he was 12, I think.

Who would deny that the decision to extend the referendum franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds and its implementation were an outstanding success that contributed to the unprecedented levels of democratic engagement that we witnessed? The case for extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in all elections is no longer theoretical: it is now unarguable. Unfortunately, the powers in relation to the franchise for UK elections and European Union elections remain with Westminster. The Scottish Government and—I hope—everyone in this chamber will urge the UK Government to bring forward legislation at Westminster as soon as possible to lower the voting age for Westminster elections, too.

Again, I thank Patrick Harvie for bringing the debate to the chamber. I urge everyone across the chamber to work with the Scottish Government to ensure swift passage of the legislation to enfranchise 16 and 17-year-olds, so that it is in good time for the Scottish Parliament elections on 5 May 2016.

13:12 Meeting suspended.  14:00 On resuming—  

Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Joe FitzPatrick)

I congratulate Patrick Harvie and thank him for bringing the debate to the chamber at such a timely moment. As members have said, the referendum was a remarkable demonstration of democracy at its best, and it is right that the chamber both recognises and celebrates the impact that young people have had on politics and the opportunity that the extension of the franchise presents to our democracy.

It is also right that we should seek to maintain the momentum in civic engagement that was gained through the referendum, not only among young people but right across the population in town hall meetings, public events and school debates. The referendum, with its phenomenal 84.5 per cent turnout, showed that people are not indifferent to politics by nature. People engage strongly when they see that they have a role to play and that they can impact and affect the outcomes. Perhaps one of the biggest roles for us, as politicians, is to show people that they have a role to play at various levels. Individuals across the country, many of whom had never voted before and some of whom had not even registered to vote previously, engaged, sought information and made their decision because they saw what could be achieved and that their vote could make a difference that would impact on their lives.

Like other members, I commend our schools, local authorities and other organisations that arranged, supported and participated in school debates, public hustings and information events that allowed young voters to engage with the issues and hear the arguments from both sides. Political debates and mock referendums in schools gave young people the chance to express their opinions on Scotland’s future, and they did so in a mature and thoughtful manner. However, I take on board the point that a number of members made about the situation being variable, and we may need to consider how a more consistent approach can be taken. I will steal Patrick Harvie’s words and say that we need to learn from the best as we take the matter forward.

Curriculum for excellence gives all learners the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and understanding that are needed to be politically literate. It helps learners to continue to develop as responsible citizens, to participate in decision making, to take an active role in society and to be directly involved in changing their communities for the better. It is not just about voting; it can be about other participation as well. Education Scotland’s online resource for learners and educators covers the importance of not just political literacy and an understanding of politics but the role of social media and gives information about how young people can get involved in the democratic processes in their schools and communities.

All parties, including the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland and the Electoral Commission, have the shared aim of ensuring that all young people are prepared to cast a well-informed vote after engaging in balanced and well-informed consideration of the issues.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Joe FitzPatrick)

Can the member tell us whether this is new money or a reannouncement of money? What is her view? She cannot have it both ways.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

We will take into account the discussions that we have had today as part of that response.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

It is probably for subject committees to determine when they should be doing post-legislative scrutiny. It would obviously be a matter for another committee to determine whether our processes need to be changed. There was a recent review by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee on that very subject, but it is clearly up to subject committees whether they want to do more post-legislative scrutiny.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

The process has worked very well and has shown that we now have a mechanism that allows reports from the Law Commission—that were previously not given the attention that they deserved—to be taken forward under very strict circumstances and with clear criteria.

The first bill appears to have worked well and although we are not quite there yet we are already in the process of considering what the next bill will be. We have identified in the programme for Government a small technical succession bill that we think might fit the criteria, so consultation on that has started. Assuming that it meets the criteria, we expect that bill to be introduced soon and to come through the committee process. Our working assumption is that there will be one such bill every year. It is not a level of business that will swamp the committee and prevent it from doing other things that it has to do, but it will give the Law Commission due regard.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

I cannot guarantee that we will not find ourselves in a similar situation again, but it is not something that will come about every week. That was an unusual set of circumstances and I guess that, if the same thing or something similar were to happen again, our approach would be to engage with the committee at the earliest possible opportunity in order to find a way forward that allows you to do your job within whatever restrictions are in place. It was a very unusual situation in that an instrument had to be laid on a specific day and had also to come into force on that same day. The lesson is that we need to work out a way forward that allows the committee to do its job and which allows the Government to get instruments in place in time.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

You are absolutely right that it is in the interest of users that instruments are unambiguous and in language that clearly shows their intention. That is always our aim, so we are grateful to the committee for flagging up where we have got it wrong from time to time, and for pointing out ambiguity in drafting. We have on-going policies that are intended to ensure that we have clarity in drafting, including having a plain English policy. Paul Cackette can address the process.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

That is a reasonable point.



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joe FitzPatrick

If you are looking for answers as to why we are asking for powers, you should be able to get those answers. There is no question about that.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
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YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382 Keith Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—That the Parliament recogni
>> Show more
YesCarried

Amendment 1 moved by Gavin Brown on motion S4M-12344 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland)
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Joe FitzPatrick
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12407: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12406: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12337: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12336: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12335: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12334: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12332: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12331: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12330: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12231: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 03/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-00804: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00742: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/05/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-01042: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/05/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00653: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00919: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00387: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00537: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/12/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00325: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/12/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00500: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/11/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00470: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/11/2011 Show Full Question >>

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