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House of Lords Appointments Commission

The House of Lords Appointments Commission is an independent advisory Non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom. It has two roles:

  • to recommend at least two people a year for appointment as non-party-political life peers who sit on the crossbenches;
  • to vet for propriety most other nominations for membership of the House of Lords, including those nominated by the UK political parties, nominations put forward by the Prime Minister for ministerial appointment in the House of Lords, for public service, and nominations in the Honours lists (including Resignation and Dissolution).

The Commission does not vet for propriety the appointments of the Bishops or Archbishops or the 92 hereditary peers who still sit in the House of Lords.

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.


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.[4]

The Commission has made recommendations for appointment on 16 occasions since its establishment in 2000, with a total of 67 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".[5] 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".[5]

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".


The people recommended for appointment as life peers by the Commission since its establishment are listed below, by date of recommendation.[6][7]

26 April 2001Edit

1 May 2004Edit

22 March 2005Edit

22 July 2005Edit

3 May 2006Edit

15 February 2007Edit

18 October 2007Edit

18 April 2008Edit

29 September 2008Edit

13 July 2009Edit

5 February 2010Edit

5 October 2010Edit

5 September 2011Edit

17 May 2012Edit

27 February 2013Edit

13 October 2015Edit

8 June 2018Edit

"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 alsoEdit


  1. ^; e.g. Gus O'Donnell was created a crossbench peer by PM Cameron without involvement of the commission.
  2. ^ "Prime Minister appoints new committee chairs". GOV.UK. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Prime Minister appoints new Independent Members to the House of Lords Appointments Commission". GOV.UK. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Criteria Guiding the Assessment of Nominations for Non-Party Political Life Peers". HOLAC. 2001. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  5. ^ a b "'People's peers' under scrutiny". BBC. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 19 November 2006.
  6. ^ "HOLAC Appointments". House of Lords Appointments Commission. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]

External linksEdit