Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

UK electoral reform job for Hughes

Darren Hughes
Darren Hughes

Former Labour MP Darren Hughes, who resigned in a scandal last year, has been appointed director of campaigns and research at Britain's Electoral Reform Society (ERS) in London.

He will be taking the lead on a range of high-profile campaigns, the society's director of strategy and communications, Ashley De, told the Herald.

"Britain urgently needs new ideas and fresh perspective on how politics can work, and that is precisely what Darren offers."

Mr Hughes will start work this month in his new job which pays between $96,000 and $116,000 a year.

A former junior minister in Helen Clark's Government, he was senior Opposition whip when he resigned from Parliament in March last year after it was revealed an 18-year-old man he had taken back to his house in Wellington had laid a complaint with police of a sexual nature.

Mr Hughes always maintained his innocence, and after a three- month investigation the police decided not to lay charges.

Mr De said the ERS was campaigning in several areas including direct elections to the House of Lords and the debate over Scottish independence.

"While we're stuck with a 19th century democracy, New Zealand has moved on," Mr De said. "We're confident Darren has the necessary skills and experience to help us win the argument for a new kind of politics.

"New Zealand's loss is our gain."

The ERS played a big role in last year's referendum on alternative voting.

"Following the defeat we are looking long and hard at how we achieve change. Darren will play a big role as we shape our plans."

The ERS is an independent organisation funded through investments and donations.

Mr Hughes did not return calls.

- NZ Herald

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