As an MEP, Anneliese Dodds championed causes including Tax Justice and Fairtrade. Now, as Labour & Co-operative MP for Oxford East, she’s taking the fight to Westminster. Joe Fortune caught up with her to hear more about her plans.

You now have a new representative role as an MP, how does the working culture in Westminster differ to that of the European Parliament?

The European Parliament is a lot less formal and traditional than Westminster, and it has taken some time to get my head around some of the more historical conventions used in the House of Commons! There is much higher quality media coverage of what happens in Westminster than in Brussels, which ensures I’m more accountable to my electorate- which can only be a good thing.

Personally, I think our strong campaign on the ground made a big difference. By the end of the campaign we had dozens of people turning up to our campaign sessions.
Our campaigners were able to take our message directly to people on their doorsteps. Their enthusiasm and commitment made a huge difference and I think helped explain why we had such a big swing to Labour.

How did you first encounter co-operative politics and the campaigning work of the movement?

I first discovered co-operative politics as a student, but it wasn’t until later that I realised how important a role the co‑operative movement has played in the Labour Party and beyond. I’ve been really pleased to see as a new member of the Parliamentary Labour Party that there are strong co‑operators from a variety of different areas of the country and from all kinds of different tendencies within the Labour party.

As part of your work as a MEP you campaigned for tax justice – is this something you will to continue to work on in Westminster?

Yes, definitely. I’m really honoured to have been appointed to the shadow Treasury team, where I will be focusing on tax matters and especially on promoting tax justice. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the co‑operative movement and Party to try and make our tax system fairer and more progressive.

The Labour Party made a fantastic commitment in the 2017 manifesto to work with the co-operative movement to double the size of the sector. Which areas of the co-operative movement would you particularly like to see grow?

I really want to see the role of credit unions increase substantially as and when Labour comes back into Government. Credit unions offer a real, safe and reliable alternative to people who might otherwise turn to high-cost credit providers. They also often play a really important role in helping people to plan their finances for the long run.

And because they’re democratically run they are properly accountable to the communities they serve. If we really want to see a fairer economy, we will have to take action to level the playing field for credit unions.