Azara Blog: Independent commission might be given power to appoint peers

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Date published: 2007/12/19

The BBC says:

Gordon Brown says he wants to remove from the prime minister the final say over who gets awarded peerages.

Mr Brown told reporters at 10 Downing Street that the final decision should instead be taken by an independent appointments commission.

At the moment the commission can advise on nominees but PMs have the final say.

Mr Brown, speaking after MPs called for curbs to political control over Lords appointments, also urged "probity and national interest" checks on nominees.

A report by the Commons public administration committee says parties are not trusted to appoint new peers on merit.

There should be explicit criteria for membership of the House of Lords and parties should submit a "long list" of nominations, with explanations of why they deserve a seat, it adds.

New peers could then be picked by a "clearly independent body" from the lists, the report adds.

Well, well. Gordon Brown might be remembered for taking away two powers from the government: the determination of UK interest rates, and the selection of members of the House of Lords. Of course this appointments commission could end up being extremely biased, in particular biased against commercial people and towards senior civil servants and other members of the academic middle class. Time will tell.

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