Stella Creasy’s attempt to secure the Labour deputy leadership has received a boost after she was endorsed by the Co-operative Party.
The MP for Walthamstow, who took on payday lenders and is second favourite to succeed Harriet Harman, said she would put co-operative traditions at the heart of Labour’s leadership if she wins in September.
Ms Creasy said there was a consumer-focused, people-power agenda that Labour could offer voters in 2020, through greater mutualism in public services, which would help the party return to government. She said: “Mutualism has got to be a massive part of our policy debates in the next five to 10 years .... There is no given right for the Labour movement to exist in the 21st century unless we discuss what it is there for.
“We have to give responsibility to get responsibility. This is not just about choice, but also about voice.”
Ms Creasy said the Conservatives had tried to appropriate mutualism in public services for themselves, but had failed to understand that it meant giving people a real say in how services were run. She added: “This is not about the John Lewis model for everyone, this is about real power for real people. I will bring this vein of progressive thinking, people-led thinking, to the heart of the leadership team.”
The Co-operative movement is quietly gaining ground in public services: there are 1,000 co-op schools, for example, while energy co-operatives, where local people buy into solar power and other renewable sources, are also increasingly popular.
Ms Creasy made her name as a campaigning MP in the last parliament taking on Wonga and other payday lenders and securing greater government protection for people. She is up against Tom Watson, the favourite to win, Caroline Flint, Angela Eagle and Ben Bradshaw.
Karin Christiansen, general secretary of the Co-operative Party, said it was backing Ms Creasy because she was “part of a modern co-operative movement”. She added: “There is a sense of excitement and rejuvenation in the Co-operative movement that comes with Stella.”Reuse content