The Labour Party has called on its members to support the Co-operative Party’s ‘Keep it Co-op’ campaign, warning that its historic relationship with the co-op movement is under threat due to Co-operative Group proposals to break its political links.
The Co-operative Group, which runs the Co-op supermarkets, is deciding whether to end its century-old political partnership with the Co-op Party at its annual general meeting on 16 May.
In response, the Co-operative Party, which is allied to the Labour Party, has launched the Keep it Co-op campaign, calling on the Co-op Group to retain its strong political voice, and stay true to the values and principles that have made it such an important presence in progressive politics for so long.
“We in the Labour movement have long had a partner in the Co-op via our partnership with the Co-operative Party,” explained Labour general secretary Iain McNicol in an email to members this month.
“For almost a century, we’ve worked together to create a fairer society where power is more evenly shared. That partnership is now under threat and I’m asking you to join me in rallying around the new Keep it Co-op campaign.
“I believe that the Co-operative Group will be making an historic mistake if it breaks the link. Without the Co-op’s powerful voice, the Labour Party, British politics and our communities will be worse off.”
The Co-operative Group is Britain’s largest co-operative – making up some 85% of the co-operative retail sector – and one of the largest co-ops in the world. The Group currently has around eight million members who vote to elect its national membership council and board, and earn a share of the business profits – known as the dividend, or ‘divi’.
Read more about the Co-operative Group’s new governance structure here.
Read more about the Co-operative Party here.
See also: ‘Beware New Threat to the Co-op Party’ by Jack Street.