The Progress strategy board meets three times each year to approve Progress’ political strategy.
The strategy board is made up of 12 elected members in three sections. In the first, members of Progress elect four representatives; in the second, parliamentarians who are members of Progress elect four representatives; and in the third, councillors who are members of Progress elect four representatives.
The current members of the strategy board, elected in September 2012 for a two-year term, are as follows:
Joe Mann MBE
Joe Mann is the deputy general secretary of Community Union and the president of the General Federation of Trade Unions. Joe has been a Labour party member for 30 years and began his career in engineering at Westland helicopters in Surrey. He has previously been general secretary of the NLBD a member of Labour’s NEC and NPF and was a parliamentary candidate in 1992.
Joan Ryan was the Labour member of parliament for Enfield North from 1997 to 2010 and was a minister in the Home Office. Prior to this Joan was a local councillor for eight years and served as deputy leader of Barnet council. Since leaving parliament Joan has worked as chief executive of the Global Tamil Forum, as deputy director of the No to AV national referendum campaign, and now as policy and communications consultant with GTF and a number of other organisations. Joan is chair of the board for the charity Riders for Health.
Hopi Sen is a general factotum and political hanger on. After a few years in fact moving consumer goods, he discovered that business was both difficult and dull and became a Labour party councillor, press officer, communications head and suchlike. Leaving the Labour party staff shortly before Tony Blair did (the two facts were unrelated, claims Blair), Hopi became a speechwriter, blogger, and third rate political pundit, so you might hear him on radio when they can’t find anyone better, telling people more electorally successful than he is that they’re doing it all wrong, and should do what he says instead. Widely regarded as a genius, it is of no significance that Hopi wrote this himself, using the third person.
Mandy Telford is a former special adviser to Tessa Jowell. Before that she headed up Unite’s flagship anti bullying programme ‘Dignity at work’ and was the Labour Students president of the NUS during the 2004 top-up fees debate. She is an experienced media performer and speaks regularly at events for Progress and CLPs. She is married and has two children.
Gloria De Piero MP
Gloria De Piero has been MP for Ashfield since 2010. Before she was elected Gloria was GMTV’s political editor. She has previously worked as a journalist on the Politics Show at the BBC. In October 2010, Gloria was appointed as a shadow minister in the Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport team. In October 2011, she became a shadow Home Office minister, and in October 2013 was appointed shadow equalities minister.
Oona King, Baroness King of Bow
Oona King is a member of the House of Lords (appointed Baroness King of Bow in January 2011) and a diversity executive at Channel 4. Oona was MP for Bethnal Green and Bow from 1997 to 2005 and became parliamentary private secretary to the secretary of state for trade and industry. During her time in the Commons she founded the all-party parliamentary group on genocide prevention and received a commendation from the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel for her group’s work on peacekeeping. She campaigned to be selected as Labour’s mayoral candidate for the London 2012 mayoral election.
Nick Smith MP
Nick Smith won Blaenau Gwent back for Labour in 2010 with the biggest swing in the country of 29 per cent. Nick is parliamentary private secretary to Douglas Alexander MP, shadow foreign secretary, and is a member of the public accounts select committee. Nick has previously been a Labour organiser, the director of policy and partnerships at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, secretary general of the European parliamentary Labour party, campaign manager with the NSPCC and head of membership development with the Labour party.
Phil Wilson MP
Phil Wilson has been MP for Sedgefield since 2007 and is currently an opposition whip. Prior to becoming an MP Phil ran a PR firm and worked in the civil service. After being elected to Tony Blair’s former seat Phil has been parliamentary private secretary to Vernon Coaker in the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families and then to Andy Burnham as secretary of state for health.
Cllr Paul Brant
Paul is deputy leader and cabinet member for finance at Liverpool council. He was elected as a councillor on Liverpool city council in 1995 and became deputy leader in 2010. Previously, he was a member of Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority; opposition spokesperson on the environment at Liverpool city council; a board member of Ropewalks; and a director of Liverpool Groundwork Trust.
Cllr Rachel Hodson
Rachel is a Councillor in Doncaster and a member of Don Valley CLP. She works in Caroline Flint MP’s constituency office as a caseworker.In May 2011, Rachel was vice-chair of the schools, children and young people overview and scrutiny panel and is also the press and communications officer for Doncaster Labour group. Rachel was recently elected chair of her CLP, and is leading on press and communications for Labour’s candidate for the police and crime commissioner election in south Yorkshire.
Cllr Florence Nosegbe
Florence Nosegbe is a Labour councillor in the London borough of Lambeth, representing Brixton Hill ward. She has held a number of key positions, including chair of the housing scrutiny committee, deputy cabinet member for communities and young people, cabinet member for culture, sport and the 2012 Olympics, and special representative on tackling youth violence. She led the campaign for Lambeth council’s first youth mayor elections in 2007 and London Councils’ ‘Be a Councillor’ campaign. Florence has also worked with the LGA Labour Group on the ‘Next Generation’ programme for talented councillors.
Cllr Claire Reynolds
Claire Reynolds is a councillor in Tameside, Greater Manchester, and a professional equalities advisor. She previously worked as a Downing Street political officer under Tony Blair, focusing on European liaison. Prior to this she was head of communications and policy for a social care venture, and was also a former national secretary of Labour Students. She was a founder member of Labour’s grassroots ‘Lead For Women’ campaign. Claire previously represented Labour as a north-west European elections candidate, and is chair of the governing body of her local primary school. She is married with two children.
Patrick Diamond is Gwilym Gibbon Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, senior research fellow at Policy Network, and a visiting fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Oxford. Patrick is also an elected member of Southwark council. He is the former Head of Policy Planning in 10 Downing Street and senior policy adviser to the prime minister. Patrick has spent 10 years as a special adviser in various roles at the heart of British government, including at No 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, the Northern Ireland Office, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission where he served as group director of strategy. His recent publications include: Beyond New Labour (with Roger Liddle, 2009); Social Justice in the Global Age (with Olaf Cramme, 2009); and Global Europe, Social Europe (with Anthony Giddens, 2006).
Susan Hitch is manager of Lord Sainsbury of Turville’s pro bono programme, a governor of the Institute for Government and a board member of Centre for Cities and Policy Network.
Vijay Riyait is secretary of Leicester West CLP, a councillor on Leicester city council, a member of Unite and a small business owner in the IT and software industry. He is a chartered engineer and member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology with a 20-year career spanning software development and applied research. He was chair of the North East Coalition for Asylum Rights which he helped to set up and build a broad range of coalition partners. He is an active member of the Leicester Sikh community and a school governor of a Leicester City Primary School.