House of Lords Appointments Commission

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House of Lords Appointments Commission - New non-party-political peers


Two new non-party-political peers recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission were announced today.

The new peers are:

Michael Berkeley - an eminent composer and broadcaster who is also a passionate advocate for the arts and, in particular, contemporary music and music education

Martha Lane Fox - a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman who, as the co-founder of the internet travel and leisure business,, was one of the pioneers of ecommerce in the United Kingdom.

They will sit on the crossbenches.


27 February 2013


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. Further information on the Appointments Commission can be obtained from

2. Michael Berkeley CBE is an eminent composer and broadcaster who has been at the forefront of British music for the last 30 years. His operas have been performed throughout the world. He has written music for orchestra, chamber and choral music and scores for feature films and popular music. As well as broadcasting for the BBC on television and radio (he presents Radio 3’s award-winning Private Passions), he regularly writes articles on the arts for national publications and has been a passionate advocate for contemporary music and music in schools. He was artistic director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music for ten years and has been the composer in Association to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the New York Philomusica. He has been a visiting professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Huddersfield. He helped set up the Association of Professional Composers (which became part of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors). He has served on the board of the Royal Opera House and as Chairman of the Governors of the Royal Ballet. He has been involved in a number of other arts organisations, such as the National Youth Orchestra, the Sydney, Spitalfields and Presteigne Festivals. He has been a member of the committee of the Queen’s Medal for Music since its inception. He has also given time to a number of charitable institutions such as the Koestler Trust, which promotes art in prisons, and the Coram Foundation, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, which supports the most vulnerable children, young people and families. Recently he has campaigned for greater awareness amongst GP’s and the public of the issues surrounding hearing loss.

3. Martha Lane Fox CBE co-founded in1998. She took the company public in 2000 and it was sold in 2005. It is Europe’s largest travel and leisure website. She is currently the founder and Chair of Go On UK, a radical new cross sector charity that aims to spread digital skills. She co-founded the karaoke business LuckyVoice in 2004 and chairs MakieLab, a start-up networked toy company. She is currently a non-executive director of Marks and Spencer and the Women's Prize for Fiction. In 2007 she started Antigone, her own grant giving foundation, which funds charities that target neglected causes. She chairs Founders Forum for Good and is a Patron of AbilityNet, Repreive, Just for Kids Law and Camfed, (which educates girls and supports young women to become agents of change). Martha Lane Fox has been the UK Government’s digital champion since 2009 and is a non-executive director of the Efficiency and Reform Board at Cabinet Office and the Government Digital Service.

4. The House of Lords 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 63 non-party-political peerages (since 2000) to the Prime Minister, drawn from well over 4,700 nominations. The Commission also vets nominations for life peers, including those nominated by the UK political parties, for propriety.

5. 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: Lord Hart of Chilton (Labour) Rt. Hon. Lord Howard of Lympne QC (Conservative) and Baroness Scott of Needham Market (Liberal Democrat) The Chairman and independent members were selected through open competition.