Our Staff

Our staff are based in offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

London Office

Darren HughesDarren Hughes
Chief Executive
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Darren joined the Electoral Reform Society in 2012 as Director of Campaigns and Research, in 2014 Darren became Deputy Chief Executive, then Chief Executive in 2017.  Originally from New Zealand, he was elected to the House of Representatives at age 24 and served across three parliaments.  During that time he was a government minister; an opposition shadow minister; a party whip; and in addition to portfolio responsibilities such as transport; infrastructure; social development and employment; and education was deputy leader and then shadow leader of the House.  New Zealand has had proportional representation for around 20 years and Darren is a firm believer in its ability to represent people more fairly and for the culture of politics to change more positively.

Research and Policy

Jessica GarlandDr Jess Garland
Director of Policy and Research
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Jess joined ERS in November 2011 and is responsible for the Society’s policy and research. A former Senior Political Adviser to a Shadow Cabinet Minister, Jess has several years experience working in Westminster. She has a PhD in Politics from the University of Sussex and holds a Research Masters (MRes) in Government, Policy and Politics from Birkbeck, University of London and a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from UCL. Jess has particular expertise in political participation and political party organisation research.

Michela Palese
Research and Policy Officer
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Michela joined the ERS in May 2018. She recently completed a research project at UCL’s Constitution Unit, which examined how the quality of information and debate during the election and referendum campaigns might be improved in the UK. Prior to this, Michela was Operations Manager for Positive News, a not-for-profit, co-operatively owned magazine publication. Michela holds a BA (Hons) in European Social and Political Studies and an MSc in Public Policy from UCL.

Ian Simpson

Ian Simpson
Research Officer
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Ian joined the ERS in March 2019. Prior to this, he was a Research Fellow on the European Social Survey, at City University. Ian also spent nearly a decade at the National Centre for Social Research, focusing on the long-running British Social Attitudes survey, as well as conducting qualitative research. Ian has a Research Masters (MRes) in Politics from Goldsmiths and a BA (Hons) in Politics from the University of Essex.


Josiah MortimerJosiah Mortimer
Head of Communications
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Josiah joined the ERS in 2015, after working for a publication in Brussels. A trained journalist, he has written for a broad range of outlets, from The Times to the Huffington Post.

Doug CowanDoug Cowan
Digital Officer
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Doug joined the ERS in March 2015 and manages the society’s digital output across campaigns, membership and fundraising. He holds an MA in Politics from the University of Edinburgh and has worked in digital marketing for major London venues, including the Hackney Empire and Rose Theatre Kingston.

Lizzie LawlessLizzie Lawless
Membership Officer
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Lizzie joined the ERS in January 2018, after completing a Marketing Traineeship with Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in Politics from Royal Holloway, University of London, and has previously spent time working in an MP’s Parliamentary office.

Jon NarcrossJon Narcross
Communications Officer
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Jon joined the ERS in March 2019 having previously held a number of roles in communications and campaigns in HE and charity sectors. He holds an MA in Political Communication from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BA in History and Politics from the University of Sheffield where he focussed on constitutional reform issues and the 2011 AV referendum.

Natasha Fox

Natasha Fox
Public Affairs and Campaigns Officer
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Natasha joined the ERS in April 2019 after working in Westminster for four years. A former Programme Manager at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Natasha has worked with MPs, MSPs and international parliamentarians from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe campaigning for increased political representation for women, people with disabilities and young people. She has an MSc from the London School of Economics in Social Policy and an MA from the University of Edinburgh in Politics and Social Policy.


Kate WestKate West
Chief Operating Officer
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Kate is experienced in financial, operational and HR management. Kate was previously Head of Operations at political think tank Demos where she led a two-year programme of internal restructuring. She has worked for local and national government, including the Charity Commission, where she worked alongside the Board and Directors to ensure high standards of governance. Kate is also a Trustee of the charity Wikimedia UK.

Stuart ThomasStuart Thomas
Operations and Fundraising Officer
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Before joining the ERS, Stuart spent 3 years as Executive Officer at the campaigning charity the Town and Country Planning Association with responsibilities in the areas of governance, HR and facilities management. Stuart has also worked for Wandsworth Borough Council, Somerset County Council and for Evergreen, an environmental NGO based in Toronto, Canada.

Electoral Reform Society Scotland

Willie SullivanWillie Sullivan
Senior Director, ERS Scotland and Campaigns
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Willie is the Director of ERS Scotland. He has worked at senior levels in the business, voluntary and public sector. He was the Campaign consultant on the successful Fairshare Campaign for the introduction of STV for Scottish Local Government and was Campaign Director for Vote for a Change, the campaign to secure a referendum on electoral reform.

Willie was seconded to be Head of Field Operations for the Yes campaign in the UK wide AV referendum. He also has been a paid political advisor to senior politicians in the UK and Scottish governments.

Phil ConorPhil Connor
Campaigns Officer
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Phil is an experienced campaigner and organiser who has worked in the democratic reform sector since 2007. His previous roles include working for Scottish think tank Common Weal, Vote for a Change, Power 2010 and the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. He is also currently the coordinator of the proportional representation lobby group Make Votes Count.

Jonathon ShafiJonathon Shafi
Campaigns Organiser
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Before joining ERS, Jonathon was a senior researcher for an independent MSP in the Scottish Parliament where he worked on a range of issues including efforts to develop extended political communication to rural Scotland. He has a long-standing interest in political engagement and brings the experience of various social movements aimed at raising democratic participation amongst groups of people who often feel alienated by the political system. He holds a joint Honours degree in Politics and Sociology and has work published on a range of outlets.

Alice Kinghorn-Gray
Campaigns Organiser
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Alice joined ERS in June 2017. While completing her MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, she worked for youth and human rights based campaign groups in the U.K. Fluent in Spanish she lived in both Brazil and Spain undertaking work with local democratic organisations and movements. Returning to Scotland Alice undertook policy research for Common Weal think tank and co-ordinates conferences on political and social issues in Scotland whilst furthering her interest in the political economy of state-society relations.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru

Jessica BlairJessica Blair
Director, ERS Cymru
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Jess Blair joined ERS in March 2017. Previously Jess was Policy and Projects Manager at the Institute of Welsh Affairs, a leading Welsh think tank. She was also Acting Director during 2016. Prior to that Jess worked in the National Assembly for Wales, writing policy for a political party. She also worked in Brussels with Regional Governments on lifelong learning policy. Jess holds a Masters in Welsh Government and Politics from the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University.

Matthew Mathias
Campaigns and Projects Officer
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Mat has over 15 years of communication and campaigning experience. He has previously held roles at National Autistic Society Cymru, National Museum of Wales and Avon and Somerset Police.

He has also worked in various communication positions for a political party at European, national and local authority level. He occasionally writes for online publications Click on Wales and the Wales Arts Review.

Nia ThomasNia Thomas
Communications and Research Assistant
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Nia joined ERS Cymru in June 2020. She is an experienced researcher and communicator having worked across a broad range of fields including biology and politics. She is currently completing her PhD at Cardiff University in biological conservation and has previously held communications roles at the Institute of Welsh Affairs and the Wales Environment Research Hub. She is also a co-founder of Beyond A Book Projects and has led several adventure-education expeditions designed to connect youth with nature through adventure, conservation and education.