Electoral Reform Society appoints ex-New Zealand MP as Chief Executive

House Of Commons Speakers Table

The campaigning organisation for voting reform has appointed Darren Hughes as its new Chief Executive.

The organisation made the announcement on Monday. Hughes replaces Katie Ghose who is now the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid.

Darren Hughes has parliamentary experience – although not from the UK. He served as a Labour MP in the New Zealand parliament between 2002 and 2011, and has been the Electoral Reform Society’s Deputy Chief Executive since 2014.

Speaking to the Electoral Reform Society, Hughes said that:

“The General Election in June saw millions of people feel forced to vote tactically to keep out a ‘lesser evil’ – rather than opt for who they really support. One in five – double the proportion of 2015 – held their nose at the ballot box and tried to second guess other voters.”

The Electoral Reform Society also announced the news on Twitter:

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark tweeted her congratulations to her former parliamentary colleague.

One of the central aims of the Electoral Reform Society is to change the UK's first-past-the-post voting system to a more representative one.

It is worth noting that following a series of referendums, New Zealand’s voting system switched from first-past-the-post to the mixed-member-proportional system (MMP) in the 1996 election. MMP is similar to the additional member system (AMS), which is used to elect MSPs to the Scottish parliament and AMs to the Welsh and London Assemblies.

The UK rejected a move to the Alternative Vote system in a 2011 referendum initiated by the coalition government.

Can Hughes win help win the battle for electoral reform?