Four new Co-op peers for Lords

The Co-operative Parliamentary Group at Westminster has increased in size following the announcement that four former Labour/Co-op MPs have been granted peerages in the dissolution list submitted by...

Moving to the House of Lords among 29 new Labour peers are former Treasury Select Committee chairman John McFall, ex-Third Sector Minister Angela Smith, Tommy McAvoy, a whip in the last government, and long-serving MP and Privy Counsellor Don Touhig.

Mr McFall (West Dunbartonshire), Mr McAvoy (Rutherglen & Hamilton West) and Mr Touhig (Islwyn) all stepped down as MPs when the general election was called and Ms Smith lost the marginal Basildon South & East Thurrock seat to the Conservatives on May 6th.

New Chair of the Parliamentary Group is Meg Hillier, Labour/Co-op MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, while Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East, was elected Deputy Chair at the first Group meeting since the election.

Co-op Party General Secretary Michael Stephenson said the Group is planning a number of initiatives on key aspects of the co-operative agenda including the Party’s manifesto ideas on the mutual sector in banking and financial services, education, housing and energy.  

They are also keen to ensure the previous Labour Government’s announcement of the mutualisation of British Waterways is not sunk by the new Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

Mr Stephenson said that, following the election of 28 Labour/Co-op MPs last month, Co-op-sponsored MPs represent a bigger share of the Parliamentary Labour Party. There are now eight female Co-op MPs and the average age of Co-op-sponsored MPs has fallen, with nine under 40.

“There was a real buzz at the meeting,” said Mr Stephenson. “Both the old hands and the new faces are really keen to do their bit on behalf of the Movement. The profile of the Co-operative Party has never been higher and we have a really solid line-up of MPs who will be fine advocates for the co-operative ideal."

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