Co-operative party chair and Labour MP Gareth Thomas says the party wants to be more distinctive [Image: Yui Mok/PA].

Co-operative party chair and Labour MP Gareth Thomas says the party wants to be more distinctive [Image: Yui Mok/PA].

As a carer, I can only approve of the measures being put forward by the Co-operative Party in its effort to become distinctive from Labour.

Carers being represented on the boards of private companies providing social care services? Brilliant.

Carers working for private social care providers having a right to take over their company  if it is at risk of closure or is changing hands? Top notch.

But one cannot help but feel that this is part of a backlash against the alleged plan by some anti-Corbyn Labour MPs, to take over the Co-operative Party and make it a more right-wing alternative to Corbyn’s Labour, if he wins the leadership again on September 24.

I have some bad news for Mr Thomas as well: I don’t think all Co-operative members have stayed neutral. How many Labour/Co-operative councillors signed the letter in support of Owen Smith?

The Co-operative party aims to develop some “distinctive and independent” policy stances separate from those of Labour, its chairman has said before the party’s annual conference.

The political movement, whose strapline is “politics for people”, has been allied to Labour since 1927, and 25 MPs currently sit in parliament on a joint ticket.

The party recently rejected speculation that it could be a vehicle for Labour MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to split away and form their own movement. It is staying neutral in the Labour leadership contest.

Gareth Thomas, the MP for Harrow West and Co-operative chair, said the party would be making more of an effort ahead of its 100-year anniversary in 2017 to develop a voice more of its own.

Source: Co-operative party to develop policies distinct to Labour’s | Politics | The Guardian

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