Jessica Metheringham

14 - Jessica Metheringham.jpg

I work for Quakers in Britain, where I'm responsible for our political and parliamentary engagement. I've worked on issues such as political lobbying, civil society, sustainability, peace education, nuclear weapons, welfare, housing, criminal justice, and immigration. I provide the "how" and the political campaign planning for colleagues who know much more about these specific concerns.

Although I focus on Westminster, I also occasionally work with the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and I keep up to date with political priorities across all three administrations. However, as Quakers in Britain doesn't cover Northern Ireland, I have much less experience with political issues in Stormont.

I previously worked for the snappily titled Local Government Boundary Commission for England, where I redrew the internal ward or division boundaries for local councils. (In fact, I was almost responsible for abolishing the corporate status of the City of Durham, as County Durham moved from a two-tier system to a unity one...and the city status was held by the district authority which was being abolished. Luckily, it all got sorted out in time, and Durham remains a city.) I wrote statutory instruments for the electoral arrangements of civil parishes in England. I'm of the view that changing our Westminster electoral system away from First Past The Post needs to start with local authority elections.

I also worked for the Electoral Commission, monitoring a number of local government and European Parliament elections.

Before working on elections and boundaries, I worked in Westminster for an MP. I was not a member of any political party when I worked in Parliament, I am not a member of any political party now, and I don't have any intention of joining one.

Since 2014 I've been co-opted on to the Power & Accountability board of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. My term there comes to an end soon, so if I was elected to the council then this would only be a potential conflict of interest for the overlapping months, and I would of course declare it to both organisations and ensure my involvement in any possible funding discussions during that period was appropriate.

I live in Reading, where I play an active role in my local Quaker meeting and in the local NCT groups. (National Childbirth Trust - for parents of young children.) I'm expecting my second child in the first week of June and will taking my part of shared parental leave until December this year. My other main interest is boardgames, and I'm part of a local play testing group. I'm currently creating a cooperative game involving activists breaking into a military base, based mainly on the extracurricula activities of one of my Quaker colleagues.


CouncilIzzy Pearce