MPs backing Co-op ideas, says Labour whip

GOVERNMENT Deputy Chief Whip Tommy McAvoy has raised hopes that Labour’s general election manifesto will have a significant co-op dimension.

The Labour/Co-op MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West told the Scottish Co-op Party conference that the global financial situation offered opportunities for co-oper-ative and mutual ideas to be put into practice.

He said there is support within the Parliamentary Labour Party for the Co-op Party’s ‘The Feeling’s Mutual’ campaign and revealed the Government continues to look favourably at re-mutualising the failed privatised Northern Rock bank.

Cathy Jamieson, Labour/Co-op MSP, told the Glasgow conference that Scotland is ready to hear the co-op message. She said that after Labour lost power in Scotland in 2007, it had to accept the agenda had changed and “needed to create the space to develop ideas with others who are interested in our co-op agenda”.

This is why Labour in the Scottish Parl-iament had supported the setting up of the cross-party groups on co-operatives and credit unions, she explained.

Michael Stephenson, Co-operative Party General Secretary, called on co-oper-ators to campaign for co-operative and mutual solutions and told conference that the Party had to “influence policy at all levels and work for the election of as many co-operators as possible”.

The conference approved policy papers on co-op enterprise and public services, which will become part of its manifesto for the Scottish elections in 2011.

It also heard from Claudia Beamish, Chair of the Scottish Labour Party and Labour/Co-op PPC for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, who said the mutual message was going down well on the doorstep.

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