Co-op Party celebrates local election boost with 680 councillors added to its ranks

Meanwhile, the non-partisan Co-op Councils Innovation Network added three full member authorities to its portfolio

The Co-op Party was among the beneficiaries of the recent UK local elections, which saw its sister organisation Labour become the biggest party in local government as voters turned away from the Conservatives.

Once the final results were in, the Co-op Party had added 680 councillors to its ranks, bringing the national total to nearly 1,600.

This is part of a wider picture which saw the number of Tory councillors fall by 957 (with 2,296 elected on polling day), with Labour gaining 643 (2,675 elected), the Lib Dems gaining 425 (1,628 elected) and the Greens gaining 200 (481 elected). The number of councillors from other parties fell by 385, with 1,001 seats won on the day.

Joe Fortune, general secretary of the Co-op Party, said: “The 2023 local election results represent another great step forward for the Co-operative Party. We had a record number of Co-operative Party candidates selected and elected.

“The Party now has nearly 1,600 councillors spread right across the UK and we are now focused on working with them and our movement on delivering co-operative change in our communities.”

The Party, which stood more than 1,100 candidates for the elections, now boasts large groups of councillors in places like Medway, Swindon, York and Derby, added Fortune.

The non-partisan Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, a group of authorities working to implement co-operative solutions, also had a good polling day, with member groups taking control of three councils. A special interest group of the Local Government Association, it is open to all UK councils.

Chair Louise Gittins – leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council – said: “I am thrilled with the local election results.

“Our associate membership scheme is open to opposition groups who agree to seek to become full members if they take control of their local authority.  

“These group leaders benefit from working alongside leaders and co-operative leads in other councils, sharing ideas and model motions in preparation for winning the council.  

“We saw the Labour & Co-operative groups at Medway, Plymouth and Stoke take control of their respective Councils on 4 May.  Plymouth City Council was a founding member of the network, and we’re delighted to welcome them back as full members.”

This brings the number of full councils in CCIN’s membership to 40 and the total membership across full, associate and affiliate membership to 106 members and 21 supporters.

But the election also saw CCIN member Torbay change hands, with its Lib Dem members losing control to the Conservatives. “We are still to hear whether they wish to remain a member,” said Gittins. “If they do, they will be our first Conservative council.”