MEET THE TEAM
Sandy Martin - Chair
I became Chair of LCER in Spring 2020. I was MP for Ipswich 2017-2019 and Shadow Minister for Waste & Recycling. Prior to that I was a Suffolk County Councillor for 20 years, and leader of the Labour Group. I am a longstanding member of LCER, and have been passionate about electoral reform since my university interview in 1975. I am also a member of the SERA Executive. In the past year I have written for Chartist and LabourList on electoral reform. I live with my civil partner in Ipswich.
KEN RITCHIE - TREASURER
I’ve been a member of LCER for over 30 years and at present I’m its Treasurer. From 1997-2010, I was Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society and since then I’ve been a regular speaker and writer on reform (publications include ‘The Reform Debates’, ‘Fixing our Broken Democracy’, ‘Turning out or turning off’ and ‘Don’t take No for an answer’ (latter two with Lewis Baston). I’m also a founding member of Labour for a Republic, and I have been a Labour candidate in three general elections.
Maria Iacovou - Secretary and Membership
As a young activist in London I was shocked by the number of Labour supporters who never bothered voting because "Labour always gets in round here". Then I moved to rural Essex and saw how many of our supporters stay home on polling day because the Tories always win! All my experience, as a Labour activist and in my job as professor of social science at Cambridge University, have convinced me that PR is essential for a healthy democracy and effective government.
William Bain - Scotland
I have been a campaigner for electoral and other constitutional reform for nearly three decades, as a constituency activist, CLP Chair and Secretary for 10 years prior to my election to Westminster as Scottish Labour MP for Glasgow North East in 2009. During my time as an MP, I held frontbench roles on Transport, Defra and Scotland, and was chair of LCER from 2011-15. Also on the MVC board, and a member of Unite, the Fabian Society and the Co-operative Party, I engage regularly with other Scottish Labour activists on the case for fairer votes and reforming our political institutions.
Billy Hayes - Trade Unions
I’ve been a member of LCER’s Executive for six years and I’ve been an advocate of a change to our Westminster voting system for the best part of 35 years. I am currently a member of the Labour Party Conference Arrangements Committee and have held many Labour Party positions, including as a former Vice-Chair on the National Policy Forum. I was in the National Office of the CWU for 9 years and was General Secretary of the CWU for 15 years. I have held positions on the TUC Executive Committee and am now Chair of the Unite London South West Community Branch. I am also currently World President of UNI Posts and Logistics – a sector of UNI Global Union.
Abbie Jones - women's officer
I believe that the only way we can effectively tackle the UK's biggest problems - from the climate crisis to social inequality - is to change the way we "do" politics in the first place. Electoral reform is a long-term solution that goes straight to the source of so many issues. By day I'm a statistician; I also organise the Make Votes Matter Manchester local campaign group, speaking on PR at CLPs across the country with Labour for a New Democracy, and trying to convince my fellow 30-somethings taht one day, for the first time in our lives, we'll experience a government we actually voted for.
Reed James - Youth Officer
From 2022-2023, I was LCER's Youth Officer and helped kick-start LCER Youth, which is a group that's been laser-focused on amplifying the voices of young people throughout LCER's internal structures and its campaigns. Previously I chaired Make Votes Matter Midlands and was involved in several street stalls. As Secretary of the University of Leicester Labour Society, I helped organise a campaign day on campus about the need for electoral reform. I have also been involved with the Labour for a New Democracy and have spoken at numerous CLPs about proportional representation. Finally, I've written multiple articles for organisations such as Chartists about electoral reform
Mary Southcott - South West, Vice Chair
Mary joined the Labour Party in 1977, went as constituency delegate to Annual Conference in 1983 and has attended every Conference since. She was LCER's Parliamentary & Political Officer from 1990 to 2020, wrote Making Votes Count in 1998 with Martin Linton, ran the South West Constitutional Convention in the early 2000's, is on the L4ND Steering Committee from Chartist Magazine, and worked with LCER South West from 2020.
I have been involved with the work of LCER since the 198s, authoring Labour’s Road to Electoral Reform (1992) and Making Votes Count (1998) together with Mary Southcott. After 30 years working as a journalist I served as Labour MP for Battersea between 1997 and 2010. I sit on the board of Make votes Count and served as its chair from 2015 to 2019; I am on the steering group of L4ND as a representative of Make Votes Count.
I’ve been voting for over 50 years, but I’ve yet to vote for a winning candidate - and I’m by no means alone in this. I live in the countryside and everyone who lives in the wrong sort of place is effectively disenfranchised by our current electoral system. Is it any wonder that public confidence in our broken politics is at an all-time low? My working life, mostly spent in education and the voluntary sector, has been dominated by the search for fairness and equity. Campaigning for electoral reform is a natural extension of this struggle. It could well be the best way of getting anything significant done about all the other crises that beset us.
I am a longstanding Labour member and an active trade unionist, holding national roles in UNISON and in Labour Link, where I have promoted PR; I was part of the teamwork that led to policy change in UNISON and moved the successful motion at UNISON Conference. I am involved in LCER's South West group, building support for PR in CLPs across the region. Electoral Reform is a prerequisite for robust sustainable change. Without Labour it will not happen.
As the secretary of my local CLP and living in a safe Tory seat, I see the real impact of FPTP. As a delegate at the last Labour Party conference, I felt the elation in the hall at Liverpool when the motion on PR was passed. I joined the Labour Party because I believe in a fairer society, and I believe that PR is the best way to achieve it. FPTP is a relic of a bygone era where we are divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and the electoral system is in desperate need of modernisation.
I have been campaigning for electoral reform and Labour for eight years, serving on the board of the ERS and Politics for the Many. In my day job I work as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA). Before that I spent several years working in frontline politics, including working for Alex Sobel MP (chair of the electoral reform APPG). I'm keen to see greater representation for rural voters and younger urban voters, both trapped in safe seats. I hope electoral reform can push issues of climate and sustainability further up the political agenda.
labour for a new democracy staff
Joe Sousek - national coordinator
Joe Sousek is National Coordinator of Labour for a New Democracy. He has previously been an elected member of the LCER executive and the Electoral Reform Society council, and co-founded Make Votes Matter. Prior to working in political campaigning he had a career in the civil service.
caroline osborne - political & education officer
I have been working in the democracy sector since 2018 and have been with Labour For a New Democracy since the campaign launched. I have always been passionate about electoral reform - after years of campaigning on other issues I was delighted to be able to join the campaign for the one issue that I believe is the starting point for a society that works for all of us. I'm an active Labour member and have stood as a candidate in local elections on numerous occasions. I have held roles within my CLP including Chair and Equalities Officer. I’m a committed trade unionist and am branch equalities officer and sit on the South East regional committee for Unite.
laura parker - strategic advisor
Laura Parker has worked for the Labour Party, as Private Secretary in the Leader of the Opposition's Office, and as a civil servant for both the UK Government and the European Commission. A former candidate for the European Parliament, Laura has significant campaign experience - including as National Committee member of Another Europe is Possible, as the National Coordinator of Momentum, and leading a range of children's rights NGOs in the UK and internationally. Laura provides strategic advice and supports the management of stakeholder relations for L4ND, and is Chief of Staff at Good Law Project.
samuel kind - campaign organiser
I have been part of the Labour for a New Democracy campaign team since January 2021. Living in York, I have spent most of the last two years buried in spreadsheets and emails, working to change our party's policy on Proportional Representation. You are likely to meet me either by catching me running around with leaflets at national conference, finding me at the L4ND/LCER stall at your regional confernece, or by emailing the campaign inbox. As an active Labour member I've campaigned in all weathers and in all types of elections, and I am very much looking forward to helping get Keir Starmer into Number 10 at the next election.
alex zur-clark - parliamentary organiser