Record number of Co-op MPs in Westminster after Labour landslide

Over 40 Co-op MPs were elected in the 4 July General Election

The 2024 UK General Election has ended with the Labour Party winning a landslide majority after 14 years of Conservative Party rule – and the Co-op Party gaining a record representation in Westminster. 

“We will speak out for you, have your back and fight your corner every single day,” said Labour leader Keir Starmer, after being re-elected to his seat of Holborn & St Pancras in north London.

“Tonight, people here and around the country have spoken and they are ready for change, to end the politics of performance, and return to a politics as public service. The change begins right here, because this is your democracy, your community and your future. You have voted, it is now time for us to deliver.”

Labour is now the largest party in England, Scotland and Wales – the first party to achieve that in nearly a quarter of a century – and Starmer is only the fourth Labour leader to win an election in the last 80 years.

The night was also a success for Co-operative Party, which has an electoral pact with Labour. Of 49 candidates selected by both parties – who stand as Labour & Co-operative – 43 were elected, marking the Co-operative Party’s largest-ever Westminster Group.

Related: How can the next government use co-operation as a tool for change?

“We are immensely proud of this historic victory, which represents a new era for co-operative politics in the UK,” said Co-operative Party general secretary, Joe Fortune. 

“With such a strong co-operative presence in Parliament and working together with Labour, our MPs are now positioned to deliver the co-operative change and policy priorities our country desperately needs.”

Fortune added: “We set out on this campaign with four clear policy aims. We wanted to double the size of our co-operative sector: doubling the economic, social and environmental benefit that our sector provides. We wanted to ensure that our high streets are safer, through measures like a standalone offence of assaulting a shopworker. We wanted to rejuvenate our town centres and give power back to local communities through a new ‘Community Right to Buy’, and we wanted to build a green revolution in renewable energy through a world leading community-owned energy policy.

“We now have the opportunity to do all that, and more.”

James Wright, policy and development lead for co-op business apex Co-operatives UK, said: “Government’s aim to double the size of the co-operative and mutual sector is ambitious but very achievable. We have a clear vision for how it can be done, through partnership between a united sector and government. Success will be transformative, not only for our movement, but for communities across the UK.”

This morning, Co-operatives UK shared ideas around opportunities for co-operatives under new Labour government. The organisation’s CEO, Rose Marley, was also one of 20 co-signees of a letter sent by the UK’s largest co-operative businesses and leading sector bodies to the new prime minister, offering Keir Starmer support in the delivery of his government’s manifesto and missions.

Related: Dame Pauline Green on politics, democracy and the future of co-operation

Labour & Co-op MPs re-elected on 4 July include several who have served in the shadow cabinet, including shadow environment secretary Steve Reed, shadow equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds MP.

Reynolds hopes to be the first Labour and Co-op MP to hold the business secretary post which, he said at Co-op Congress last month could “open up the kind of environment at the top of government that will allow so many [co-ops] to grow and succeed and for more people to join what we know is a sector that delivers resilience, prosperity, good jobs and good opportunities in every part of the UK.”

The Co-op Party made several gains across the country, including in Rochdale, where Paul Waugh beat George Galloway to become the first Co-operative MP to represent the historic home of co-operation.

The Co-operative Party’s first win of the night was in the North East, with Emma Foody taking the new Cramlington and Killingworth seat that crosses Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Foody is also the Party’s assistant general secretary (membership & organisation).

Jim McMahon, Co-op Party chair, held his seat in Oldham, as did Gareth Thomas (former chair and chair of the APPG on co-ops and mutuals) and Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) and Kate Osamor (Edmonton).

Jeremy Corbyn won in Islington North running as an independent.

Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary, and one of the favourites to be next Tory leader, took 19,360 votes to beat Labour candidate Issy Waite, but 10 former cabinet minsters were ousted, including Penny Mordaunt, Gillian Keegan and Grant Shapps. Jacob Rees-Mogg also lost, as did Liz Truss in South West Norfolk, becoming the first former prime minister to lose her seat since Alec Douglas-Home in 1966.

Earlier in the morning, former chancellor Jeremy Hunt held on in his constituency by fewer than 900 votes, avoiding exit poll predictions that he might become the first sitting chancellor to lose his seat. 

In a message aimed at his children, Hunt praised Starmer and Rachel Reeves (former shadow chancellor) and said that peaceful democracy should never be taken for granted. 

“We are incredibly lucky to live in a country where decisions like this are made not by bombs or bullets, but by thousands of ordinary citizens peacefully placing crosses in boxes and bits of paper,” he said. 

“Brave Ukrainians are dying every day to defend their right to do what we did yesterday and we must never take that for granted. Don’t be sad, this is the magic of democracy.”

Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats are now set to be the third biggest party in the House of Commons, with at least 68 seats in the new parliament, while in Scotland the SNP suffered huge losses, retailing just 8 seats so far. The Green Party now has 4 MPs (up from 1), as does Plaid Cymru in Wales – and Sinn Féin will be the largest party in Northern Ireland for the first time.

Where are the winners?

With 641 of 650 constituency results declared:
Labour: 410 seats, 33.9% vote share 
Conservatives: 119 seats, 23.7% vote share
Liberal Democrats: 71 seats, 12.3% vote share
Reform UK: 4 seats, 14.3% vote share
Green party of England and Wales: 4 seats, 6.8% vote share
SNP: 8
Plaid Cymru: 4
Sinn Féin: 7 
DUP: 4
Alliance: 1
UUP: 1