Parties should explain why they award peerages, says Lords Appointments Commission

 

Senior Reporter

Political parties should start publishing detailed information about why they have chosen to make someone a member of the House of Lords, the body which oversees the awarding of peerages has said.

In a letter to Labour MP Chi Onwurah, the chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission Lord Kakkar said that the reasons behind political nominations to the House of Lords should be made public in the interests of transparency.

“The Commission is of the view that there would be merit in explaining in more detail the reasons why individuals have been appointed to the political benches – as the Commission does for those it recommends to the cross benches,” he wrote. “However, this is a matter for the political parties.”

The intervention comes in the wake of the row which followed the awarding of a peerage to Ranbir Singh Suri, a Sikh jewellery magnate who has donated more than £300,000 to the Tories since 2004.

The Independent revealed how Downing Street created a misleading impression about the new Lord Suri by suggesting in its official citation that he was “former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs” – a group which has not existed for more than 20 years and which folded after holding only a few meetings.

Number 10 also described Lord Suri as a leading figure in Britain’s Sikh community, a claim which has been dismissed by some prominent Sikh groups, who said he was unknown to them. One of them described the suggestion as a “bare-faced lie”.

Lord Kakkar was writing in response to a letter from Ms Onwurah, who had demanded to know whether David Cameron’s recommendation of a peerage for Lord Suri had been properly assessed.

In his reply – which he pointedly copied to Mr Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the leaders of the three main Westminster parties – he said that that the Commission only vetted nominations for peerages for “propriety” and not “suitability”, which he said was a judgement “for the parties alone”.

However, he added that during the vetting process the Commission asked to see a “detailed citation from the party leader” giving reasons for each nomination, which are currently not made public. Only a short official citation is released.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Lord Suri, who was a magistrate for more than a decade and runs a successful jewellery company, Oceanic Jewellers, in London.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate