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.
Julie Ward - Vice-Chair
I was the Labour MEP for NW England from 2014 to January 2020, serving on parliamentary committees for Culture & Education, Women's Rights & Gender Equality, Regional Development and Economic & Monetary Affairs. I was also Gender Mainstreaming Co-ordinator and Vice Chair of the Culture & Education Committee during my second mandate, and was link MEP for the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled Persons.
I am a member of The Chartist editorial board, a steering group member of Politics For The Many, and national committee member of Another Europe is Possible and Open Labour - all partner organisations in Labour For A New Democracy. I am an experienced election observer, having observed in fragile democracies and in the recent US elections.
Duncan Enright - Vice-Chair and Local Government
As Labour leader in Cameron's backyard, I am a member of a Labour Town Council in Witney and former Mayor (having been the only one ten years ago). My interest in reform - in Westminster but also in local government, is undimmed after decades of support. I am a publisher and leadership consultant working for my own small firm.
Maria Iacovou - Secretary and Membership
I'm convinced that virtually every social and political problem that the UK currently faces would be easier to solve with a fair voting system. I work at the University of Cambridge, where I lecture in social statistics and do research into social inequality and the sociology of the family.
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 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 District Councillor in Daventry, Secretary and founding member of Labour for a Republic, and I have been a Labour candidate in three general elections.
John Doolan - Parliamentary and political officer
I have been a committed Labour activist since 1996 and I have been a member of the Executive of LCER since 2015. I am Chair of my CLP in Hertsmere and have come to believe that Labour must adopt PR and electoral reform to ensure that the UK has a parliament fit for the 21st century. Since joining LCER I have worked with others to help turn it into an effective campaigning organisation, and I have been the guest speaker on PR at countless CLPs. In my day job I work in Cyber Security.
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.
Charlotte Cornell - Communications
With a background in writing for politicians, I know how important the right words, tone and look can be for a winning campaign.
I’ve worked as a writer and political researcher for various Labour MPs and I organised communications for Angela Rayner’s Deputy Leader Campaign in 2020. I was the Labour candidate for Dover in the 2019 General Election and still continue to write words to order!
In some spare time, I am doing a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, crowdfunding for statue of the first professional female writer, Aphra Behn and running a digital poverty initiative in East Kent.
Lynne Armstrong - Women's Officer
A member of LCER since 1989, I first served on the Executive Committee in the 1990s and particularly worked to make the UK's system of electing MEPs proportional, in line with all the other EU Member States. This was achieved in 1999, the fifth EP election,
I have served as a Labour Town and District Councillor and have been a candidate for both the European and Westminster Parliaments.
MA in Economics (Cambridge) and MSc in Psychology (Open), I was senior statistician at EFTA, and a translator for the European Parliament and Commission for 20 years.
Mary Southcott - South West
I joined LCER in 1988 and served as its Parliamentary and Political Officer from 1990 until 2020. The Plant Commission had recently been set up by Labour leader Neil Kinnock to report on democratic reforms and so I campaigned to extend the Commission's remit to include elections to the House of Commons.
I also campaigned to retain the referendum in Labour's 1997 election manifesto and have, over the years, briefed numerous politicians and activists, notably the late Robin Cook and Mo Mowlam.
I stood for Parliament in 1987 and sat on the National Policy Forum for eleven years. I have authored numerous articles and books on voting reform, including Making Votes Count with Martin Linton.
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.
Monica Threlfall - London
The first electoral system I became involved with was the new proportional Spanish one, launched for the exciting first democratic elections of 1977 (I was the coordinator of the Socialist party’s equivalent of the Fabian Society at the time). The system still supports a strong democracy. My interest continued during my subsequent academic career in the UK (Loughborough, London Metropolitan Universities/Reader in European Politics). I researched AV in depth for the 2011 referendum, speaking against it. Currently I contribute to LCER’s search for a fairer and politically feasible system for Britain.
I have been on the executive for 4 years now, and am responsible for engaging with young Labour members and overseeing activity in the North East of England. I was employed for 2 years at Labour HQ in Newcastle, I was employed by a Labour MP and was employed as the North East regional organiser for Another Europe Is Possible. I have a wide experience of speaking at CLPs and other meetings, as well as doing behind-the-scenes organising. I am also a member of Momentum, Open Labour and Labour for a Republic. You can find me on Twitter @baeckford
Caroline Osborne - Events
Having campaigned as a Labour activist on a range of issues, I decided to concentrate all my efforts into electoral reform as changing the voting system would create the kind of politics that enables the kind of progressive society that we all need.
I work for Make Votes Matter as part of the Labour team and I’m involved with the Labour for a New Democracy campaign. My role is focussed on increasing the discussion about PR within CLPs and trade unions. In LCER I am responsible for organising speakers to CLPs, trade union branches and other events.
Joe Sousek - ER PArtners Liaison
I stood for re-election to the LCER Executive because I believe we are closer than ever to winning Labour’s support for Proportional Representation - and I want to help finish the job. In my role on the Exec, and as Co-Chief Executive of Make Votes Matter, I have been responsible for establishing and convening Labour for a New Democracy: the coalition of organisations centred around LCER to win support for PR at the 2021 party conference. My priorities are to ensure we succeed in this - and help to make LCER one of the most influential affiliate organisations within the Labour Party.
Click here to download our constitution. Read how we run our organisation and consider getting involved by standing for election to our Executive Committee at the next AGM.