Commissioner Biographies

The Commission


Lord (Paul) Bew

Lord Bew joined Queen’s University Belfast in 1979 and was made Professor of Irish Politics in 1991. He acted as historical adviser to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry between 1998 and 2001 and was appointed as a non-party-political peer by the independent House of Lords Appointments Commission in February 2007 following his contributions to the Good Friday Agreement. He has served on a number of committees including the Joint Committee on the Defamation Bill, which addressed key issues of academic freedom, and the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege which produced its report in July 2013. Lord Bew chaired the 2011 independent review of Key Stage 2 (SATs) provision in England. He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London. Among Lord Bew’s many publications is the Ireland volume of the Oxford History of Modern Europe.

Portrait Photograph of Lord Bew

Political Members

Baroness (Sheila) Noakes (Conservative)

The Baroness Noakes DBE was made a life peer in 2000. In 2001, she served as the Opposition Spokesperson for Work and Pension and Health, in 2003 serving as the Opposition Spokesperson for The Treasury, before working on a number of Lords Committees. Prior to becoming a peer she served as a Partner at KPMG, Director of Finance of the NHS Management Executive and a member of the Court of the Bank of England (Director of the Bank of England). She currently sits on the Economic Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, and the Finance Bill Sub-Committee in the House of Lords.


The Baroness Taylor of Bolton PC (Labour)

Baroness Taylor of Bolton was the first woman to serve as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council in 1997. She went on to become the first woman to serve as Government Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury). Baroness Taylor is the former MP for Bolton West (1974 – 1983) and Dewsbury (1987 – 2005) and was made a Life Peer in 2005. She currently sits on the Industry Regulators Committee, Procedure and Privileges Committee, and the Lord Speaker’s Committee on the Size of the House.


Baroness Kate Parminter (Liberal Democrat)

Kate Parminter was created a life peer in July 2010. She sits in the House of Lords on the Liberal Democrat benches and is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment.
From 1990-1998 she headed the Public Affairs for the RSPCA, during which time she chaired the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals which helped to ban hunting. In 1998 she became Chief Executive of CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England. From 2004-2010 she was a freelance consultant advising corporations and charities on charity, CSR and campaigning issues. She was a Liberal Democrat Councillor on Horsham District Council in West Sussex for eight years (1987-1995). Kate is a Patron of the Meath Epilepsy Trust in Godalming.

Photograph Portrait of Baroness Parminter

Independent Members

Rt Rev and Rt Hon the Lord Richard Chartres GCVO

Lord Chartres is a Crossbench Peer. He is the former Bishop of London and held a number of wider roles during that time, including as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners.

Photograph portrait of Lord Richard Chartres

The Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE DL

Mrs Jay-O’Boyle is the current Lord Lieutenant of the Country Borough of Belfast, a member of the Advisory Board to Hillsborough Castle, and the Vice Chair of Northern Ireland Opera. She has been involved in public and voluntary service for many years.

Photograph portrait of Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle