Co-op Party MPs and peers take places in Starmer’s shadow cabinet

‘Working together, the Labour and co-operative movements will continue to be a powerful force for positive change – during this crisis and beyond’

Sir Keir Starmer has unveiled his first shadow cabinet, following his election as Labour Party leader on Saturday.

The full cabinet follows the appointment this morning of several key positions, with Jonathan Ashworth (Labour & Co-op MP for Leicester South) retaining the role of shadow secretary of state for health and social care and Anneliese Dodds (Labour & Co-op MP for Oxford East) appointed shadow chancellor of the exchequer.

The full team sees roles for other Labour/Co-op MPs. They are:

  • Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde), shadow work and pensions secretary
  •  Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport), shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary
  • Steve Reed (Croydon North), shadow communities and local government secretary
  • Jim McMahon  (Oldham West and Royton), shadow transport secretary.
  • Preet Kaur Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston), shadow international development secretary

There are also roles for two Labour/Co-op peers: Baroness Smith is shadow leader of the Lords, and and Lord McAvoy is the Lords’ Opposition chief whip.

Several of the team members have played crucial roles in co-operative initiatives. When in local government, Steve Reed played a key role in the development of the co-op council movement, which now comprises 28 local authorities across the country.

Steve Reed

In 2010 Mr Reed, then leader of Lambeth Council, launched a consultation on plans to turn the authority into the country’s first co-operative council, giving more control to communities and service users. He is now honorary president of the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN), the umbrella body for the movement.

Jim McMahon

Another high profile figure from the co-op councils movement is Jim McMahon, who was leader of Oldham Council and was the first president of the CCIN.

Luke Polland (Photo: Co-operative Party / Tehmoor Khalid / Krzysztof Kseba)

Luke Pollard – whose Plymouth constituency has a co-op council which has been highly praised for its co-operative initiatives – has also been active in supporting the movement, including his calls for mutual ownership models for national utilities.

Jonathan Reynolds, whose previous roles include  shadow economic secretary under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has also worked to advocate co-op models, including arguing for worker-owned alternatives in the finance sector, in a speech to the Co-operative Economy Conference, organised by the Co-op Party in 2017.

Preet Kaur Gill

Preet Kaur Gill’s contributions to the movement include speaking up for farm producers’ co-ops around the world, calling last month for Brexit trade negotiators to bear in mind the needs of Fairtrade producers.

In a statement welcoming Sir Keir as leader, and Angela Rayner as deputy, the Co-op Party said: “In recent years, the Co-operative Party has demonstrated the influence of our ideas, our campaigns and our movement. We have won significant policy commitments to promote the co-operative sector’s growth and development, as well as support for campaigns on food justice, retail worker protection and modern slavery.

“Our movement, anchored in the communities we serve, has exemplified the ‘co-operative difference’ in its leading response to the Coronavirus crisis. Working together, the Labour and co-operative movements will continue to be a powerful force for positive change – during this crisis and beyond.”