Co-Op Party chair quits over indy support

THE chair of the Labour-linked Scottish Co-operative Party yesterday stepped down from her post after writing an article in favour of Scottish independence.

Mary Lockhart, a potential Labour MEP and a former member of the party’s Scottish Executive, quit after her views were published in last week’s Scotland on Sunday.

In her article, headlined “Socialism will work better in independent Scotland”, Lockhart argued that indep-endence offered the best chance for socialists to shape a future of Scotland, which reflected the identity of its people.

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A party member for 30 years, she also argued that it was “insulting” and “offensive” that Labour had joined forces with the Conservatives in the Better Together campaign.

Although expressing her views in a personal capacity, Lockhart tendered her resignation as chair of the Scottish Co-Operative Party yesterday.

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In a statement, she said: “I offered my resignation because I accept that no chairperson should use that role to promote personal opinions that conflict with the policy of that organisation, or may imply a position that the organisation does not hold.

“I am grateful to my colleagues and comrades for the measured way in which they have handled this matter.

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“I remain a committed Co-operator and an active member of both the Co-operative Party and the Labour Party and am glad that both parties are mature enough and broad enough to accommodate a diversity of opinion in their members.”

On its website, the Scottish Co-Operative Party recorded Lockhart’s resignation and noted that its annual conference had passed motions promoting Scotland playing a vital role in the United Kingdom.

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The Co-operative Party is the political arm of the Co-Operative Movement and works in partnership with the Labour Party.