Firstly, I want to thank the Scottish Co-operative Party for the supporting nomination which your members gave me. I also want to say how humbled I am to have received support from members across all sections of the Labour movement.
As the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party I look forward to working with all sections of the Labour Party but as a Co-operative Party member I will be putting co-operative ideas and policies at the heart of what Scottish Labour does.
I look forward to working with Richard Leonard, who I know is a committed co-operator and our new team at the UK level to promote many policies developed by the Co-operative Party.
I want to build on the co-operative policies which we developed when we were in power. It is time to review the remit and working of Co-operative Development Scotland. It is time to support the credit union movement and help it grow in Scotland.
In the last few months, I have amended legislation that made sure that the new Scottish National Investment Bank was able to invest in co-operatives. I will work with my Co-operative Party colleagues to ensure that this becomes a reality. I have worked with the Scottish Co-operative Party to develop amendments to ensure that the new consumer rights body Consumer Scotland actually represents the views of consumers.
I will work to deliver a People’s Rail service in Scotland which listens to the voice of passengers and workers. I will work to double the size of the co-operative economy in Scotland. I support plans to deliver a right to food in Scots Law and also to protect retail workers from violence, threats and abuse and I support Johann Lamont’s call to the First Minister to legislate on those.
In the current crisis we are all recognising that we achieve more when we work together and that the ideals behind co-operation are now more important than ever. I believe that we all owe key workers a debt of gratitude in this current crisis. We need to ensure that they have the correct protective equipment and that we value them.
As an USDAW member and a co-operator I am proud of the work done work done by retail workers. I hope that you will join me in thanking our retail workers.
I look forward to working with the Co-operative Party over the next few months and years to deliver more Scottish Labour & Co-operative MSPs at the next election – elected on a manifesto with co-operative policies and ideals running right through it.