The Breakthrough party now has its first councillor, after Keighley’s Sam Cooper – councillor for Woodhouse and Hainworth – resigned from Labour to join Breakthrough because of her disgust with Keir Starmer’s conduct as Labour leader
Breakthrough is a new democratic socialist party which aims to fill the political space created by Labour’s lurch to the right under Keir Starmer’s leadership. In a statement on her move, Ms Cooper said:
Under the new leadership, the Labour Party has turned its back on the people I was elected to represent and I can no longer look them in the eye while remaining in the Party. “There are some truly good people in Labour and those people will always have my respect. But as a primary school teacher and mother of two young children, I can’t watch the Party walk back on its support for the trade unions, on its proud and unwavering support for the most vulnerable groups in our society, at the same time keeping MPs who ally themselves with those who make the world more dangerous for people I love. As a teacher, I asked my party for solidarity during the pandemic, in a time when our union had never needed support more. I didn’t get it.
Ms Cooper spoke exclusively to Skwawkbox about the reasons for her decision to resign, about the new leadership’s distaste for unions and working-class people, about the need for a community-based movement – and about what she feels are the prospects in the UK’s political landscape for new left parties:
Welcoming Ms Cooper to the Party, Breakthrough leader Alex Mays said:
Samantha embodies everything Breakthrough stands for – she’s unashamedly socialist, incredibly passionate about her local community, and wants to fight for a better and fairer society.
Her support for campaigns around free school meals and Black Lives Matter, as well as her tireless community work for the people of Keighley, is a testament to that. As our first ever councillor, she will have a big responsibility in setting out what Breakthrough can do at a local level and I’m looking forward to seeing that in action. This a proud moment for our party and hopefully Samantha will be the first of many Breakthrough councillors! Samantha grew up on naval bases mostly on the South Coast before her father left the Navy and settled in Shipley.
My Mum used to leaflet for the Labour Party as a child with my Grandad. He was a miner, and a conscripted soldier. Old school Labour Party! I used to dream of becoming a Labour MP and taking his photo with me to
I joined Labour because I believed that they had the backs of people like the miners and the unions. My Grandad made sure I joined the union when I got into teaching. ‘Stick with your union and they’ll see you
right,’ he would say.
“What I took from that was solidarity and always looking to see who needed a hand up. I used to feel confident that Labour left no one behind. Labour supporters in Keighley are brilliant but since the change
of leadership, the Party has turned its back on them.
I’ve joined Breakthrough to fight for the radical policies that so many of the people in Keighley and the rest of the country so desperately need. That means fighting for secure jobs that pay decent wages, affordable homes, good schools and a properly funded public health and social care system.
Breakthrough is a democratic socialist party founded earlier this year that says it is working with other progressive parties to break the two-party stranglehold on power and to give voters a real choice.
The Party plans to stand candidates in parliamentary and local government elections to challenge the political status quo and, in
particular, the Labour Party’s abandonment of many of its core voters, especially the under 40s.
Earlier this year, Labour signalled its lack of interest in community-based activism when it shut down its community organising unit and laid off its team in the middle of the pandemic.
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