Altogether, 43 Labour/Co-op candidates contested last week’s general election after the tally was boosted days before the poll by the adoption of Chris Leslie as PPC for Nottingham East following sitting MP John Heppell’s decision to stand down.
Mr Leslie duly held the seat and will be joined at Westminster by 27 other Labour/Co-op MPs — just one less than the total elected in both 2001 and 2005 when Labour had a big overall majority on both occasions.
“I’m absolutely delighted to end up with so many Co-op MPs, given that it was such a difficult election for Labour,” said Co-operative Party General Secretary Michael Stephenson.
“This is a very good result for the Co-op Party and the Movement and means that we have almost achieved parity with the previous Parliament and, in fact, have managed to maintain virtually the same level of representation in the House of Commons as we’ve had for the past decade.
“Given some of the swings against Labour in parts of the country, we did exceptionally well overall and there were also some great individual results.”
Mr Stephenson saluted the result in Harrow West where Party Chair Gareth Thomas survived by limiting the swing against Labour to less than two per cent and also singled out new Co-op MPs Gavin Shuker and Luciana Berger for special praise.
Mr Shuker held Luton South despite the furore over the expenses claims of former Labour MP Margaret Moran, while Ms Berger, a controversial choice as PPC for Liverpool Wavertree in some quarters, won the seat with a majority of over 7,000, comfortably seeing off a strong Lib Dem challenge.
Mr Stephenson was also delighted to see high-profile Labour/Co-op MP Ed Balls returned at Morley & Outwood and pointed out the Conservatives had poured a lot of money into the local campaign to try to oust him.
The impressive Co-op tally was boosted by Labour’s relatively good performance in the North of England and, in particular Scotland, where five out of the six Labour/Co-op candidates topped the poll, most with increased majorities as the anticipated SNP challenge failed to materialise.
Altogether, there will be 12 new faces in the
Co-operative Parliamentary Group when MPs return to Westminster. The Labour/Co-op casualties on election night included former MPs David Drew (Stroud), Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton), former Health Minister Phil Hope in Corby, Sarah McCarthy-Fry in Portsmouth North, ex-Third Sector Minister Angela Smith in Basildon & East Thurrock and Loughborough’s Andy Reed, one of the 1997 intake of Co-op MPs.
Among the newcomers to the Co-op group of MPs at Westminster will be former Minister Stephen Twigg, who romped home in Liverpool West Derby with an 18,467 majority over the Lib Dem challenger; and three other highly-rated young MPs John Woodcock, Jonny Reynolds and Tom Greatrex who all won safe Labour seats in the North of England and Scotland.
Meanwhile former Colchester Co-op director Bob Russell held Colchester for the Lib Dems with a near 7,000 majority over the Tory challenger.
The full list of what happened to the Co-op PPCs is here:
Back again . . .
Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood)
Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West)
Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton)
Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside)
Mike Gapes (Ilford South)
Mark Hendrick (Preston)
Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)
Alan Keen (Felthan and Heston)
Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith)
Andy Love (Edmonton)
Alun Michael (Cardiff South and Penarth)
Meg Munn (Sheffield Heeley)
Linda Rirodan (Halifax)
Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)
New faces . . .
Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree)
Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
Geraint Davies (Swansea West)
Gemma Doyle (West Dunbartonshire)
Chris Evans (Islwyn)
Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen & Hamilton W)
Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarmock & Loudon)
Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)
Jonny Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde)
Gavin Shuker (Luton South)
Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby)
John Woodcock (Barrow & Furness)
Over and out . . .
Claudia Beamish (Dumfriesshire Tweedale and Clydesdale)
Simon Burgess (Brighton Kemptown)
John Cook (Norwich North)
David Drew (Stroud)
Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport)
Phil Hope (Corby)
Paul Kalinauckas (The Wrekin)
Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth North)
Andrew Pakes (Milton Keynes North)
Andy Reed (Loughborough)
Gerry Ryan (Croydon Central)
Val Shawcross (Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
Angela Smith (Basildon South and East Thurrock)
Kathryn Smith (Gravesham)
Sharon Taylor (Stevenage)