House of Lords Appointments Commission

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In May 2000 a change was made to the way in which non–party–political members of the House of Lords are appointed. The House of Lords Appointments Commission was given the key role of recommending to Her Majesty The Queen the names of individuals we think should be appointed on merit.

The public are asked to self–nominate or to nominate others they think should be appointed to the House of Lords and the Commission assesses all the nominations against the published criteria. [1]

However, others have raised concern at the way the Commission is operated. Gordon Prentice, MP for Pendle raised concern at the way that sppointments are recommended. Prentice visited Dennis Stevenson at his offices in Tufton Street, just round the corner from Smith square to discuss his concerns. He was taken aback by the way that the front door had no sign of who was behind it, and that office is separate from the main office of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which is just around the corner in Great Smith Street.

"I was ushered into the noble presence and, within about three minutes, we were almost at blows--he accused me of being political. I told him, 'I am a Member of Parliament', but he said that I was there only to be political. I was interested in the process of how people would be plucked from obscurity to be put into the nobility. I wanted to know who would do the sifting, what criteria would be used and whether people would be interviewed.
Most important, I wanted to know if people who were rejected would be told the reasons for that. I asked Dennis if that would happen, because it is good employment practice. There was a pause, so I asked him whether it was ministerial policy not to tell anyone. There was a longer pause, and then I twigged. There was no ministerial policy on the subject; it is a Dennis Stevenson policy not to tell people why they were rejected. Now we know why people were not told the reasons for their rejection. Only a tiny percentage of the 3,200 people who applied were ever going to be seriously considered. That is pretty corrupt" [2].


  1. ^ House of Lords Appointments Commission, last accessed 01/02/07
  1. ^ Prentice, G. (2001)People's Peers, last accessed 21/03/07