End of year Q&A: Joe Fortune, general secretary of the Co-op Party

‘I’ve particularly enjoyed the work our Party has been doing with others from the wider co-operative and social economy movement’

 How has the last year been for the Co-op Party?

This year, the Co-operative Party has gone from strength to strength. We’ve increased our number of members and supporters, as well as there being more people than ever standing as Labour and Co-operative at election times. The Party has continued to keep up the pace and quality of our activity, with thousands of members getting involved with our campaigns and taking actions with us. I hope our members and the wider co-operative movement have also taken the opportunity to attend our conferences, both at a national and regional level, weekly events and even taken up the opportunity of the training the Party has offered this year. 

I’ve particularly enjoyed the work our Party has been doing with others from the wider co-operative and social economy movement. At the beginning of the year, we had the aim to work more closely within policy output with colleagues from the movement and I’m proud that we’ve been able to publish work with organisations such as New Local, our Co-operative police and crime commissioners, Social Enterprise UK and within the community energy sectors as well. This work has culminated in what I believe to be potentially one of the biggest pro-co-operative policies to be offered by either a Westminster government or opposition. The Labour Local Power Plan would see a huge expansion of community-owned here in the UK – with 8 gigawatts of energy and millions new owners of energy. 

Personally, I have really enjoyed 2023 and would like to thank our team for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year. I’d also like to thank our subscribing societies for all their support through the year. 

What are your hopes for the future?

2024 is setting up to be a big one in the political world. Only time will tell whether an election will be called or not but when it comes, it will be the fifth general election as a member of the Co-operative Party’s staff. Myself and the whole team are focused on making it the best general election ever for the Party and I hope ultimately for the wider movement. We have put a lot of time and effort in to our 2024 plans and I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out. 

Of course, next year won’t be all about the general election. The Party still has huge ambitions for local and regional government as well as focusing on our day to day campaigns. I hope we finish 2024 in a stronger position than we leave 2023 and are well placed to deliver for our whole movement.

Click here for more Q&As from our annual review