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House of Lords Appointments Commission publishes revised criteria for selecting new non-party-political peers

25th March 2009

The House of Lords Appointments Commission today published revised selection criteria for non-party-political peers. The Commission, chaired by Lord Jay of Ewelme, recommends individuals of experience and expertise to contribute to the workings of the Upper House and also vets nominations for life peerages for propriety.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Commission Chairman Lord Jay said:

“The new Commission has been reviewing its policies and procedures in light of experience and has identified some small but important amendments that would clarify and strengthen the existing criteria.

The Appointments Commission wants to ensure that future nominees are willing to commit the time necessary to make an effective contribution to the House of Lords, rather than, as now, merely “having the time available” to do so.

The Commission also wants to strengthen the existing requirement that a nominee should be resident in the UK for tax purposes, and be willing to confirm his or her acceptance of the requirement to remain so. (This strengthening will also be reflected in our vetting criteria for future party-political and other nominations for peerages).

Finally, the Commission wishes to add to the current requirement for nominees to be independent of any political party, a confirmation of intent to remain so. “
Publishing the revised criteria today, Lord Jay said:

“The public and the Commission rightly have high expectations of the small number of individuals we are able to recommend for appointment each year. We are updating all our information material and will be writing to all nominees to update them on these changes.

“The competition for these appointments is tough. We want to ensure that those selected are aware of and able to meet the expectations of the Commission and the public.”

The revised criteria take effect immediately.

Notes to Editors

  1. Media enquiries about the work of the House of Lords Appointments Commission should go to Maggie O'Boyle on 07880 740627.
  2. Further information on the Appointments Commission can be obtained from www.lordsappointments.gov.uk
  3. The Appointments Commission is a non-statutory advisory body set up by the Prime Minister to make recommendations for non-party-political peerages. The Commission’s remit is to find people of distinction who will bring authority and expertise to the House of Lords. The Commission recommends individuals on merit and their ability to contribute effectively to the work of the House. The House of Lords Appointments Commission has now recommended a total of 49 non-party-political peerages to the Prime Minister. The Commission also vets nominations for life peers, including those nominated by the UK political parties, for propriety.
  4. The membership of the House of Lords Appointments Commission comprises four independent members: Lord (Michael) Jay of Ewelme GCMG (Chairman), Baroness Jane Campbell, Professor Dame Joan Higgins and Dr John Low and three members nominated by each of the three main political parties: Rt Hon Baroness (Brenda) Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, Lord (Navnit) Dholakia, and Rt Hon Lord (Douglas) Hurd of Westwell. The Chairman and independent members were selected through open competition.