Co-op Members Urged to Keep the Party Link

The Keep it Co-op Campaign is urging Co-operative Group members to vote against proposals to sever the group’s 98-year-old relationship with the Co-op Party at this Saturday’s AGM in Manchester.

The campaign has issued instructions to members on how to vote to protect the link whether they are voting by post or in person, recommending they vote yes to motions 9a, 9b, 9c and 10 on the ballot paper.

keepitcoop-sharerAll eligible group members should have received voting packs by mid-April – either by post or email – and those who are not attending the AGM need to return their forms to the AGM chair by this Wednesday, 13 May.

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. Each year the Co-operative Group, along with other co-operatives, pays a subscription to support the Co-op Party’s work.

In the run up to the AGM, the Group is asking its members whether to authorise the subscription and continue the partnership with the party which has stood for nearly a century.

The Keep it Co-op Campaign urges members to maintain the link, arguing that it is part of what ensures the Co-op remains true to its principles as more than just another mainstream business.

“Working together, the Co-operative Group and the Co-operative Party have helped to create a fairer Britain,” says the campaign website.

“Together, we’ve led the way in protecting shoppers and the environment, and championed fairtrade. We’ve supported credit unions, won new rights for football supporters, and created a network of 800 co-op schools. And we’ve secured strong legal foundations for the next generation of co-ops to grow and thrive.

“But now that partnership is at risk. On 16 May, Co-op Group members will vote on whether to continue supporting the Co-operative party. The co-op has never just been an ordinary supermarket – let’s work together to keep it that way.

“We believe the partnership with the Co-operative Party is vital if the Group wants to be at the heart of a co-operative resurgence,” it adds. “We provide strategic political leadership and support, driving forward policy solutions, opening up new areas for the movement to expand into.

“The Co-operative Party is the guardian of the co-operative movement’s powerful values and inspiring vision, and a vital tool in achieving its profoundly political objectives.

“Our aim is to deepen and enhance the link so the Group and its members benefit, as well as society and our communities. We can create a stronger, more sustainable future together.”

The Labour Party has also backed the campaign, as general secretary Iain McNicol explained in an email to members last month.

“We in the Labour movement have long had  a partner in the Co-op via our partnership with the Co-operative Party,” he said.

“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 Keep it Co-op Campaign website, including a video explaining its arguments, is available here.

Click here to find out how to vote to protect the political link.

Click here for more information and frequently asked questions.

You can sign up here to the Keep it Co-op campaign.

You can also keep up with Keep it Co-op on Twitter or Facebook.

Read more about the Co-operative Group’s new governance structure here.

Read more about the Co-operative Party here.