The Co-operative Party

How it was established

The Co-operative Party was established in 1917 to defend and promote the Co-operative Movement by obtaining political representation at all levels of Government. Although it was not until 1943 that the Chelmsford Co-operative Party was established, it has played an active part in our community since its formation. If you would like to know exactly how it came into being and details of some of the leading personalities involved, you might like to read Chelmsford Star – A Co-operative History. This is available in many of the Society's shops, or through the Marketing Department, 220 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford.

Our aims

As a political party we work to promote co-operative and mutual forms of economic, social and voluntary organisation, based on the principles of mutual ownership and democratic control. We also seek to promote co-operative values and principles throughout the wider Labour and Trade Union Movement.
In our view people will achieve more by working together than they can by working alone. We also believe that through increased co-operation, we will achieve a sustainable future for our economy and for society as a whole.
We also support efforts to bring about the empowerment of individuals and communities, through co-operative self-help initiatives.

What we do

Chelmsford Co-operative Party meets virtually every month and its members are regularly engaged in political debate, pointing out to the public and politicians the advantages of the co-operative and mutual sector. We hold conferences on a variety of subjects, attracting speakers of considerable repute, with those attending coming from all over the East of England.

Although we are an independent political party, we do have an electoral agreement with the Labour Party. This has proved beneficial to both parties and we currently have thirty Labour and Co-operative members in the House of Commons, eight in the Scottish Parliament, five Welsh Assembly Members and over seven hundred councillors. Along with our membership of 8,000, they work with the Labour Government to promote co-operative and mutual forms of economic, social and voluntary organisation, based on democratic control.

Chelmsford Co-operative Party is affiliated to various bodies including West Chelmsford Constituency Labour Party, Braintree CLP, Maldon and East Chelmsford CLP, Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign and Essex Racial Equality Council.

As part of our internal democracy the Co-operative Party has an annual conference in which we participate by discussing issues, submitting motions and engaging in debate. We also attend the Co-operative Party's Eastern Region Advisory Council. We provide a report of our activities and finances to members of Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society through its Annual Report.

After the Labour Party we are the UK's largest centre-left political organisation. Our members take an active part in:

  • Campaigning for Labour's adoption of co-operative policies
  • Campaigning for the recognition of consumer rights
  • Having a say about decisions in their community
  • Helping to promote co-operative politics and recruit new members 
  • Organising events to raise awareness of local and national issues


All our members receive New Mutualism. This is a bi-annual members' magazine, featuring interviews with leading politicians, news of Party campaigns and initiatives, and policy based articles and features.

Arising from our annual conference and decisions made by our National Executive, the Co-operative Party publishes a wide range of policies designed to promote co-operative and mutual ownership. It also publishes pamphlets and policy briefings relating to specific areas of Government policy, and in support of our national and local campaigning work.

Points of contact

If you would like to know more about the Co-operative Party, what is happening in your area, who are our MPs or elected representatives in other Chambers, look at the Co-operative Party's website

For local information or if you would like to join Chelmsford Co-operative Party, please contact Malcolm Wallace or telephone 01245 601373.