Shadow Communities Minister Jim McMahon MP today told a conference of senior councillors that they have a duty to begin delivering Labour’s 2017 manifesto, by doubling the size of the co-operative sector in their communities.

The MP, who also chairs the Co-operative Party’s group in Westminster, was speaking at the Co-operative Party’s Local Government Conferrence in Central London.

In May, the Party, which is sister Party to Labour, elected a record 396 Labour & Co-operative councillors, in addition to directly-elected mayors in Hackney, Newham, Lewisham and the newly-created Sheffield City Region. Across the whole of the UK, more than 800 councillors now have the Labour & Co-operative designation.

In his speech, McMahon referenced Labour’s 2017 Manifesto, which put the co-operative model at the heart of a future Labour government’s economic strategy with a pledge to double the size of the UK co-operative sector.

Pointing to the example of councils including Greenwich, Southwark and Brighton where a majority of Labour councillors represent both parties, McMahon told the Conference they have “a bedrock of ideas, action and guides which more than rival many other parts of the wider Labour family”, and that they have the means to begin delivering the manifesto commitment now.

Jim McMahon said:

“Our ambitious work to spread co-operation and develop a co-operative economy cannot and should not wait till we have the keys to Whitehall.

Today I wish to urge you and all Co-operative Party representatives and members to commit ourselves not to wait for Whitehall and rather involve ourselves in delivering upon this ambitious commitment now. We have the tools and expertise to deliver long before the Labour Party has a chance to form a Government in Westminster. “

 The Conference, (organised annually by the Co-operative Party, Labour’s sister Party), shared examples of councils ‘Being the Difference’ in their communities. This includes work to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains, actions to protect growing numbers of private renters, as well as examples of councils taking proactive local leadership in economic regeneration, drawing upon the ‘Community Wealth Building’ model which has been hailed by the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as an example to follow.