House of Lords Appointments Commission

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The House of Lords Appointments Commission is a non-partisan, non-statutory, independent body in the United Kingdom. It has three roles:

  • to recommend people for appointment as non-party-political life peers;
  • to vet all nominations for membership of the House of Lords, including those nominated by the UK political parties, to ensure the highest standards of propriety;
  • to scrutinise certain candidates added to the Honours Lists, such as those nominated for political services as well as anyone added at a late stage.

The Commission was established in May 2000 to assist the transitional arrangements for reform of the House of Lords. The role of the Prime Minister in making non-partisan recommendations to the Queen for creation of life peerages was partially[1] transferred to the Commission, in order to ensure greater transparency in the process. It was also given oversight of all other appointments to the Lords, including partisan nominations.

Members[edit]

The Commission has non-partisan members as well as representatives from the House of Lords of the three largest political parties:

"People's peers"[edit]

The Commission makes recommendations for the appointment of non-partisan life peers. It has established for itself seven criteria upon which to base its decisions, seeking to recommend people with

  • a record of significant achievement within their chosen way of life;
  • the ability to make an effective and significant contribution to the work of the House of Lords;
  • the time available to ensure they can make a contribution;
  • some understanding of the constitutional framework, including the place of the House of Lords;
  • integrity and independence;
  • a commitment to the highest standards of public life; and
  • independence from any political party.[2]

The Commission has made recommendations for appointment on 12 occasions since its establishment in 2000, with a total of 57 people being recommended for peerages. All of these individuals went on to be nominated as and created life peers. Upon taking their seats, every one of them joined the crossbenches.

The fact that the type of people considered by the Commission for peers were to be neither aristocratic nor members of the "political class" led some in the British media to describe those it was to appoint as "people's peers".[3] This term has never been a formal classification.

The purpose of the reform was to make the process more open and those making appointments more accountable. Upon the establishment of the Commission, the Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would ensure a House of Lords that was "more representative of our diverse society"; suitable candidates would be sought "in a wider field than up to now".[3]

Following the first set of appointments in April 2001, it was, however, pointed out that those chosen included several knights as well as leading academics and scientists, having much the same establishment background that would have been made peers anyway. The Labour MP Diane Abbott described them as "the metropolitan elite".

Appointments[edit]

The people recommended for appointment as life peers by the Commission since its establishment are listed below, by date of recommendation.[4]

26 April 2001[edit]

1 May 2004[edit]

22 March 2005[edit]

22 July 2005[edit]

3 May 2006[edit]

15 February 2007[edit]

18 October 2007[edit]

18 April 2008[edit]

29 September 2008[edit]

13 July 2009[edit]

5 February 2010[edit]

5 October 2010[edit]

5 September 2011[edit]

17 May 2012[edit]

27 February 2013[edit]

"Cash for Peerages"[edit]

In March 2006 the Commission's objections to some of those proposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair for working peerages led to the "Cash for Peerages" scandal.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4205909.stm; e.g. Gus O'Donnell was created a crossbench peer by PM Cameron without involvement of the commission.
  2. ^ "Criteria Guiding the Assessment of Nominations for Non-Party Political Life Peers". HOLAC. 2001. Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  3. ^ a b "'People's peers' under scrutiny". BBC. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 2006-11-19. 
  4. ^ "HOLAC Appointments". House of Lords Appointments Commission. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 

External links[edit]