Rebecca Long-Bailey

Co-ops and the co-operative movement are central to the history of the labour movement and the Labour Party. They are a huge asset to our economy, our workforce and wider society, and I fully endorse Labour’s commitment to double the size of the sector through a Co-operative Development Agency.

As Party Leader, I would look into the options to go beyond that target, and I was proud of the measures in our 2019 Manifesto to bolster the co-operative sector - like establishing a Post Bank to lend to co-operatives and allowing communities to buy their local pubs.

Sadly, the UK lags behind most other advanced economies, with the co-operative sector four to six times larger in Germany and France. And that means we’re losing out.

Studies from around the world show that co-operatives have higher productivity levels than conventional businesses. In the UK, co-operatives enjoy higher profits than conventional businesses, and are more likely to succeed as businesses in their early years.

Not only that, but co-operatives give more back to society. In 2016, the five largest co‑operatives in the UK paid 50% more corporate tax than Amazon, Facebook, Apple, eBay and Starbucks combined.

Beyond the financial benefits, the co-operative model is a powerful tool to extend democratic decision making into our economy. And the consequence of that, according to the evidence, is that co-operative workers are better off, experiencing less pay inequality within their company and enjoying higher levels of job satisfaction, with lower turnover than their counterparts in the private sector.

More democratic decision making is also more likely to lead to better long term outcomes for a company, and a business model that is better for the society and environment in which the co-op is based. I can see that first hand with the positive impact Salford Credit Union has had in my community.

That’s why I believe that the co-operative movement has a key role to play within the more democratic economy Labour is trying to build, alongside democratic public ownership of our utilities and public services, expanded rights and powers for trade unions and worker ownership. For example, public ownership and direct public investment is required to decarbonise our energy system at the required pace and scale to tackle the climate crisis, and community-level energy co-operatives will have an important role to play within that.

I want to see co-operatives thrive in our society. As leader of the opposition, and as Prime Minister, I will do what I can to remove the barriers - financial, regulatory and cultural - that have been holding the sector back, so that the UK can truly become a co-operative economy.

Lisa Nandy

I am standing to be the next leader of the Labour Party to address deep-seated inequalities which are holding back individuals, communities and our country. To do this we need to redistribute power as well as wealth.

There is a reason why ‘take back control’ resonated like no other political message of my lifetime – because it spoke to a wider truth that the people don’t have enough say over the things which matter to them. This has been hijacked by the political right but ‘take back control’ can be a mission statement that applies to co-operative and labour movements too. Co-operatism is a form of taking back control, that through a movement we empower people and regain trust. It is a tradition Labour has neglected for too long and means we will only ever have half of the answer.

Whether it is the vision of Robert Owen at New Lanark Mills to draw on everyone’s talents or the everyday inspiration of the Rochdale Pioneers – for centuries there has been a desire for alternatives to short-termist and exploitative models of capitalism.

The co-operative movement and party have many of the answers that Labour needs to help people shape and humanise the future economy. We need a renaissance in co-operative solutions as well as support to scale up the successes we already have.

Throughout my time in Parliament I’ve visited community co-operative enterprises and initiatives in towns and cities up and down the country; that hasn’t been by accident. It’s at the heart of my politics, and at the heart of a democratic and inclusive economy I want to see.

The message at the heart of my campaign is ‘we win together’ because for too long Labour has been top-down and paternalistic.  I do not believe we can face up to the biggest challenges of our age without collective responses and without harnessing our collective talent and skill. I’m inspired by communities – thousands of them –coming together, pooling their knowledge and resources to change things for the better and treasuring the common good.

Co-operatives in all their many forms can provide so many answers to the issues facing people. We need our credit unions providing more financial services working for people rather than against them. Labour should support the development of community-owned services from transport to pubs. Let’s make employee-ownership the default option for business owners wanting to retire. Doubling the sector should be the start of our ambitions.

Preston has shown what a co-operative economy could mean, and what thousands of co-operative Councillors can do, just as Bristol has shown how a mayor can create a culture of shared decision-making. There is no bigger ‘anchor institution’ than people and their communities. Let’s help retain more wealth locally rather than let it leak away for shareholder gain.

I don’t need convincing that changing the person who pulls levers in Westminster or Whitehall will not get close to effectively responding to the challenges facing our country. We cannot leave essential issues like climate change and resources, artificial intelligence and automation or care and loneliness to the chill winds of market forces. We’ve always argued that the fruits of our labour should be more controlled by those who have produced it. We must do better.

The next Labour leader must help win power beyond the ballot box. I ask for your support so that we can all win together.

Keir Starmer

Our two parties have stood arm in arm for almost 100 years in our common endeavour to build a fairer society, where power, wealth and opportunity are shared more equally. If I am elected Labour Party leader, I will ensure our partnership continues to flourish, especially as we develop policy on expanding the co-operative sector.

We enjoy many strengths and advantages as an economy, from our world-leading universities and financial services to our vibrant cultural and creative industries. But those strengths have not produced an economy that delivers for working people or for communities up and down the country.

Workers have endured a lost decade of wage growth, a rise of in-work poverty and ever more precarious working conditions. We are one of the most centralised and regionally unequal countries in the developed world, with vast inequalities of wealth, power and income.

We need to build a fairer economy. I believe that expanding common ownership, including through co-operatives, must be a key part of that. We know that broadening ownership creates more productive workforces, reduces internal wage inequalities and puts workers or the community in charge of decisions over investment and strategy. It is socialism in action.

I support doubling the size of the co-operative sector. I also support the call for a new Co-operative Development Agency to provide the finance, training and support workers or communities need to set up, run or take control of a business. We also need a “Workers’ Right to Buy” written into law, so that workers are given early warning of when their firm is being sold and offered the support of the Co-operative Development Agency in developing an alternative takeover bid.

But delivering this won’t happen by ambition alone. It will need a Labour government, Labour councils and Labour mayors working together to deliver a radical expansion of co-operatives and common ownership.

I want to see a fundamental change in the way our economy works so that it is more democratic, more equal and based on the principles of co-operativism and solidarity.

With the support of the Co-operative Party and the whole labour movement coming together, I believe another future is possible.

Emily Thornberry

Thank you for giving me the chance to contribute to your deliberations about who should be the next Labour Party leader.

Now that the other candidates have secured the required backing to get on the final ballot, I hope you’ll consider giving me your support to ensure we have the broadest debate possible, and so I can bring my experience on the international issues that matter so much to our movement into that debate.

I grew up in a Labour family, and I always thought I understood the meaning of ‘solidarity’, especially when it was a local Labour councillor who helped us find a new council home after my Dad left us and we were turfed out by the bailiffs.

But I only truly learned what solidarity meant years later, when I became a lawyer and went to represent striking miners in the mid-80s, and saw entire communities coming together to share what little they had with those who needed it most.

For me, that kind of solidarity epitomises the Co-operative Party: the ethos that we’re all stronger together; but if any of us is suffering, we’re all suffering.

That is why I’ve been so inspired by your campaigns on tackling loneliness, exposing the reality of modern slavery, defending local communities from crime, and protecting our vital community spaces.

These are not issues easily solved, or indeed easily sold to a media that wants headline issues and simple answers, but that is all the more reason why you’re so right to campaign on them, because they are the issues affecting millions of the most vulnerable people in our society, who need to know someone is standing up for them.

That is why some of the issues I am most passionate about – the desperate shortages of social care and social housing; the over-crowding of our prisons; and of course, the human rights of persecuted communities overseas – fit into that same category.

That is the kind of campaigning I‘ve been involved in all my adult life, ever since I joined Labour 42 years ago, and started going door-to-door on my own canvassing and collecting subs.

I’ve brought that same campaigning, fighting spirit to my fifteen years in Parliament, and the seven front bench jobs I’ve done, including shadowing Boris Johnson for the entire two years he was Foreign Secretary, and taking him to pieces every time.

And I fought harder than any other member of the Shadow Cabinet – both privately and publicly – for a second Brexit referendum, and for Labour to lead the campaign to Remain in the EU – the most successful co-operative project of our lifetimes. And I’ll continue to fight against the cliff-edge, No-Deal Brexit we face in December.

It’s going to be a long, tough road back to power from where we are now, and we need an experienced, battle-hardened campaigner to lead that fight. That’s what I bring to this race, so I hope you’ll consider giving me your support to help me remain part of it.

Rosena Allin-Khan

Growing up on the breadline, as a mixed race child, with a single mum, under Margaret Thatcher’s Government of the 80s, meant that the odds were stacked against my brother and I.

Constantly told that there was a ceiling on what I could achieve, when I failed my exams, my dreams of serving my community looked to be over.

A Labour Government transformed my life and enabled me to go to medical school and become an A&E doctor, where I still do frontline shifts. I am determined that no person should have a limit placed on them by this Conservative Government. As an MP, I’ve taken my passion for labour values across the world in humanitarian crises, working with the most vulnerable. Only when we give a voice to the voiceless, can we create a more equal society.

We face a huge challenge ahead and we need to prove to the country that we can deliver on our promises.

As Deputy, I will lead from the grassroots, working hard across the UK. I will listen to members and together evaluate why we lost the last four general elections, then move forwards, starting by winning the elections in May.

My first priority would be to listen to the voices of those who have lost faith in our party – people from every race, region and background, including the Jewish community, who we have hugely let down. I will work to move beyond the last few years where nasty internal debates about faction and ideological purity have too often alienated people outside of our movement.

I will work with local councillors and campaigners to empower us to be even better community leaders – I was the first candidate to contact all councillors and PPCs - whether that’s supporting local high streets, connecting people with local foodbanks and welfare advice, or being a trusted community resource at the heart of local neighbourhoods.

I will campaign to win - not just in the next General Election, but for the local elections in May. We need to rethink our campaigning strategy. I have been speaking to people in seats where we lost and been told that Labour’s messaging wasn’t clear enough to be communicated on the doorstep, that resources were not readily available from head office and that best practice and support was not offered to our most marginal seats. Based on this feedback, I have published a manifesto called Grassroots Revival, setting out changes the Labour Party can make to its campaigns in order to be more effective and start winning again.

I would give our emergency service workers a voice on shaping their future by offering them a reduced rate to join our party- we will fight to save our NHS from the Tory sell-off.

My aim is clear: to take Labour forward together and win the next General Election – join me.

Richard Burgon

I’ll be a campaigning Deputy Leader.

Winning the next general election means regaining the trust of the voters we’ve lost. My focus will be building a Party rooted in every community with powerful local campaigns that show whose side we’re on.

I fully back our previous two manifestos. These offer real solutions to the problems our communities face.

Great policies, however, aren’t enough. I’ll overhaul our campaigning and messaging to focus on 10 key policies that are easily explainable on the doorstep.

Any path to power requires us winning back the 50+ Leave-supporting seats we lost.  As Deputy Leader, I’ll chair a Special Commission on rebuilding that support.

As Deputy Leader I will campaign for a New Clause IV that will enshrine Labour's manifesto commitments on public ownership into our Party’s constitution so that Labour never again supports privatisation and outsourcing. Public ownership is popular. It should be at the heart of what we stand for as a Party. My plan will help us stay in tune with voters who are sick of being ripped off by private companies which treat public services as nothing more than cash cows.

I support Open Selection so that members and trade unions can have a full and democratic say and make the decision about who is their Parliamentary Candidate in each and every General Election.

I’ve always stood up to the establishment and for the oppressed. Before being an MP, I was a trade union lawyer for a decade.  As an MP, I voted against the 2015 Tory Welfare Bill and nominated and backed Jeremy in both leadership elections. When I successfully sued The Sun, I used the £30,000 compensation to fund a local internship.

As Secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, founded by Tony Benn, I believe the values of peace, equality and socialism are more necessary than ever.

Working class communities in all their diversity need a Labour government. Whoever is Leader, I’ll be a team player focussed on our main task: winning back power.

Dawn Butler

As a member of the Co-operative Party I am proud to support your vision of building a better society where power and wealth are shared on a more equitable basis.

For me, this means that in a democratic society we must extend democratic control; control of businesses, workplaces, utilities and more to customers, employees and beyond.

I was proud to stand in the General Election on a manifesto which committed to transforming our economy so that it works for the many and not the few. Like you, I agree we need a new model of democratic ownership for the 21st century which is why I support public ownership of national assets including the railways, energy and water.

I remain committed to our plans to establish a new Co-operative Development Agency to double the size of the co-operative sector within the UK. This will help build wealth in communities and keep money in the local economy, not in offshore bank accounts.

We need to ensure our economy is run for people, not for profit.

We also need to rebalance power in business giving more power to the workers. I fully support elected worker-directors comprising 1/3 of boards where there are 250 employees or more.

As Chair of the APPG for Governance & Inclusive Leadership, I was also proud to host the Co-operative Party, at the launch of the Maturity Matrix ‘Investing in Ethnicity & Race in the Workplace’ which is a toolkit for businesses to aid them in taking the necessary steps to enhance diversity in the workplace.

These are the kinds of transformational policies we need to build a more democratic society however to do this we first need a Labour government.

As Shadow Secretary of State for Women & Equalities, I back your campaign to tackle modern day slavery. This is one of the greatest evils of our time with tens of thousands of victims across the country working on farms, factories and more. I was proud to have announced the Emancipation Educational Trust policy to teach young people of the horrors of slavery with school programmes, visits and more.

That is why I will be a campaigning Deputy Leader, preparing our party for power. I will ensure we have Organisers working at the heart of communities from the South-West to Scotland. I am determined that this be the last time we lose and will ensure all members have access to the resources they need to lead the fightback.

I also believe the Leader and Deputy must work together to deliver a Labour government. I have served under two Labour Prime Ministers and proudly served in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet. I never have, and never will be part of a coup because divided parties do not win elections.

As Deputy Leader, I will ensure we have the right strategy, vision and plan to prepare for power so that we may transform our country with a Labour government.

Ian Murray

The Co-operative Party is crucial to rebuilding the Labour Party and must be at the core of our Labour values.

Co-operatives are a striking example of how to build a broad coalition of support, which is something I have always sought to do in politics.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge football fan.

Every opportunity I get I make my way to Tynecastle in Edinburgh to watch my team, Heart of Midlothian.

When the club hit financial difficulties back in 2013, I spent all my spare time helping to save the club as chair of the supporters’ co-operative, Foundation of Hearts. I always knew this was going to be a tough task, but we turned it around and got the club back on the road to recovery. It is now 80 per cent fan-owned by the 8,000 members of the co-operative.

Being involved in saving the club gave me first-hand experience of building a co-operative model, one which can offer a sustainable framework for football clubs and puts supporters back where they should be - at the heart of the club and its community. I also set up a local greengrocer co-op called “Dig-In” to provide a local high street with this provision.

As deputy leader of the Labour Party, I will champion co-operatives. I was proud to be on the Co-op Parliamentary Panel, and I’m honoured to have the support of former Co-operative Party chair, Gareth Thomas MP.

Our movement is hurting after successive election defeats, but it’s far worse for every person and family who needs a Labour Government.

We let them and the country down.

That’s why I want us to be honest and listen to voters and members, so that we understand what we got wrong.

We need to make the credible and co-operative case for public services such as the ownership of our railways from Thurso to Truro where the privatised ownership model has delivered a poor deal for the travelling public across the UK.

We must look at radical examples of co-operative ownership across our economy and industry that are appearing across the UK like the Glen Wyvis distillery in the Highlands, build on community ownership.

Co-operatives aren’t just about issues like transport and business though. They can help build the foundations of aspiration and community development.

Look at the community work of many co-operative credit unions across the UK which offer a serious mainstream alternative to the big banks, which is increasingly important at a time when access to free high street cash machines is falling month by month.

We must approach these issues with bold new thinking to ensure communities and local businesses aren't left behind.

We must stand up for every part of our UK, building on our values of internationalism and solidarity as a pro-UK and pro-European party.

I’m standing to be deputy leader because I want to change our party so that we can win again and transform people’s lives.

But I won’t be able to do it alone.

Winning together is how we get back to government, and the Co-Operative Party and wider movement is central to this vision. In me you will always have a co-operative champion.

Angela Rayner

The old tired settlement has failed: people are more economically and socially isolated and we have yet to convince many that politics provides the answers.

So firstly, let me commit to the three pledges asked of each candidate, which values the strong and enduring relationship between the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party.

We made significant progress on democratic public ownership, and in highlighting the need to invest in regional co-operative development agencies. But that should be seen as a start, not an end, to the work we can do together.

As Deputy Leader, it will be my job to build a political and campaigning movement to win the next election, so that when we celebrate the centenary of our coming together as sister parties in 2027, we will do so in government, having implemented a new deal for co-operatives and mutuals.

Our current economic model takes wealth away from the people who create it and denies working people the chance to thrive. We need a new economic settlement which values work, contribution and community.

Our future can be inspired by our history, built on the foundations laid in 1844 by the Pioneers, not too far from me in Rochdale. The Co-operative is more than just a movement of its own, it’s part of who we are.

I’m proud to be a co-operator, but I recognise many people don’t realise the full potential a co-operative moment can realise.

I want to shout from the rooftops that our top 5 ethical and rooted co-operatives who together paid more tax than Amazon, E-On, Facebook, Starbucks and Vodafone combined. This approach rewards those whose hard work created the wealth, and funds decent public services, like our NHS.

But words aren’t enough. We need action. We can showcase Co-operatives as a form of everyday socialism, making our values real in people’s normal lives and demonstrating we have practical solutions to the problems they face.

We can build from the recent Greater Manchester Co-operative Commission which sets out a clear roadmap to grow the sector and level the playing field.

And we can learn from where Labour and Co-operative councillors are in power today through local leaders in the Co-op Councils Innovation Network and beyond.

As Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, I worked with the Co-operative Party and wider movement to develop plans for a new generation of co-operative schools and nurseries, and a new co-operative, comprehensive university. I want to preserve those policies and build on them further. And I don’t want them to be one-off institutions either, but part of a wider approach to our economy and services.

But pledges and policy aren’t enough either. You need a Deputy Leader who gets that a co-operative isn’t just a way of doing things, it’s core to who we are, and it runs through everything we do. That’s why I’m seeking your support.

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