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Mary Southcott is LCER's Parliamentary and Political Officer

Mary joined LCER in 1988 and started working as its Parliamentary and Political Officer in 1990.  The Plant Commission had recently been set up by Labour leader Neil Kinnock to report on democratic reforms; one of Mary's first achievements was a successful campaign to extend the Commission's remit to include elections to the House of Commons. Following the publication of the Plant Report, Labour leader John Smith offered a referendum on voting reform; in the years after his death, Mary campaigned to retain the referendum in Labour's 1997 election manifesto.

Mary has briefed numerous politicians and activists, notably the late Robin Cook and Mo Mowlam; she continues to promote voting reform among politicians, academics and Labour party members.

Mary stood for Parliament in 1987 and sat on the National Policy Forum for eleven years. She has authored numerous articles and books on voting reform, including Making Votes Count with Martin Linton.  

  • 7 Apr 2020 20:26 | Anonymous

    Mary Southcott, LCER's Parliamentary and Political Officer, writes: 

    Good News from new Shadow Cabinet Lineup

    First congratulations to both Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner for becoming the Labour Leader and Deputy Leader.  As you know LCER received this response from our new Labour Leader to our questions to all the candidates.  He said: 

    "We’ve got to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and they feel their voice doesn’t count. That’s got to be addressed by electoral reform. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do that at every level. I would consult the Party membership on electoral reform and include it within the constitutional convention that looks at wider democratic renewal--including abolishing the Lords and furthering devolution on the principles of federalism."

    Congratulations to other electoral reformers who have joined the Shadow Cabinet: 

    Marsha de Cordova is new Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary  

    David Lammy is new Shadow Justice Secretary.   

    Steve Reed is new Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary 

    Jonathan Reynolds, the new Shadow Work and Pension Secretary has been an PR advocate since his student days and Chair of Make Votes Count.  He is also one of three PLP representative on the NEC.  


    Louise Haigh who has taken up an interim role as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary

    Congratulations for those electoral reformers who keep their roles, particularly 

    Luke Pollard remains Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary  

    Cat Smith stays on as Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement 

    Ian Murray who returns as Shadow Scotland Secretary after quitting in 2016  

    and recent declared voting reformer 

    Rebecca Long-Bailey as Education Shadow Secretary. 

    We hope to work with particularly and persuade the following: 

    Ed Miliband as Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Secretary.  He was pro Alternative Vote in the 2011 AV Referendum and some say now pro PR.  He was last in the Shadow Cabinet in 2015   

    Jim McMahon who is Shadow Transport Secretary and has always emphasised devolution particularly supporting local government  

    Lisa Nandy as Shadow Foreign Secretary who remains worried about the link between PR and extremism 

    Bridget Phillipson is Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 

    Nick Thomas-Symonds as Shadow Home Secretary

    This compares with the former Shadow Cabinet where we lost Jeremy Corbyn who was open but not proactive on voting reform; John McDonnell who was an active supporter who has joined us at various events since 2016 and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti who was thought to be in favour. 

    The best people to persuade anyone are people they know so at this dangerous time for British politics the silver lining may be that we work together to move the Labour policy from the current first past the post to an open position leading to having something positive to say in the next General Election.  


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