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Paul Rowen MP hits back over newspaper article

August 8, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has hit back over a national newspaper's claims that Rochdale 'wasn't the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement'. The headline in Monday's Guardian read: "Strike Rochdale from the record books. The Co-op began in Scotland."

Paul Rowen MP said: "It is clear that the Co-operative movement wouldn't have grown as much as it did without the influence of Rochdale. The Rochdale model was copied across the country. Here in Rochdale we are very proud of our place in history and that will continue. Whilst over 300 Co-operatives were set up before the Rochdale Equitable Pioneer's Society, it is clear that we were the trail blazers that made such a difference to the way that people traded.

"For a national newspaper to almost accuse this Town of conning people is wrong. The fact that it was not run by the church or any political organisation, that it was cash only and promoted education and good causes and everything else that marks Rochdale's deserved place in the history books. All these prinicples have been adopted across the world. We are proud to call Rochdale 'The Birthplace of Co-operation'.

"I'd like to see the sign on the railway bridge repainted, the trees cut back so everyone visiting Rochdale knows what a mark Rochdale made on history."