CO-OP bosses received overwhelming backing for their plans to reform the way the troubled funerals to food group is run.

At the a special general meeting 83 per cent of members backed the radical plans and a new rulebook for the mutual business, whose acting boss if former Morrisons finance director Richard Pennycook.

The new governance structure, drawn up after two damning reports into the crisis-hit company , which was rocked by a drugs scandal surrounding former chairman Paul Flowers, a former Bradford councillor, and record £2.5 billion annual losses, include a slimmed-down board of 11 directors with “high standards of competence” to oversee the running of the group.

The new constitution also includes a move to one member one vote, allowing Co-op members to vote on matters concerning the group’s future, such as the election of directors and significant transactions and to participate in general meetings.

Ursula Lidbetter, Co-operative Group chairman, said: “This is a momentous and defining moment for The Co-operative Group and I am delighted that our members have voted in favour of this much-needed radical reform to our governance structure.

"These reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the change necessary to return the group to health. This will strengthen the Society and enable us to move forward with the urgent work to rebuild the business and deliver on our renewed purpose, in the interests of all our colleagues and our millions of members and customers.

“In voting for real change we have demonstrated our co-operative values of self-help and self-responsibility."