1,600 members of the public apply to be 'people's peers'

Click to follow
Indy Politics

A tough competition is looming for "outstanding" members of the public who want to become people's peers after more than 1,600 applications were received in advance of today's deadline.

A tough competition is looming for "outstanding" members of the public who want to become people's peers after more than 1,600 applications were received in advance of today's deadline.

The Prime Minister will recommend between eight and 10 life peers to sit on the crossbenches in the House of Lords by next March.

Their appointments are expected to be confirmed in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The "non-party political" peers will have the usual trappings of a peerage - such as the title of Lord or Baroness and access to an attendance allowance of £81.50 a day.

The scheme was set up as part of Labour's first-stage plans for Lords reform. It was designed to counter critics who said the Government was simply replacing hereditary peers with "cronies" appointed by the Prime Minister.

The aim of the process has been that the new "Joe Public" peers will change the face of the House of Lords, which is at present nominated by white, middle-class politicians.

But a spokesman for the Appointment's Commission, which will draw up the shortlist of the new style peers, yesterday remained tight-lipped over how many applicants were members of ethnic minorities, women or lived outside London.

There have been suggestions that applications, of which many were received via the internet, range from distinguished academics at Oxford University to a former firearms officer at Buckingham Palace who single-handedly raised his two daughters after their mother died.

Candidates must demonstrate outstanding personal qualities of integrity and independence and have a record of "significant achievement". They must also be aged over 21, be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen.

Comments