Learning how to join the House of Lords was once an impossibility for the average person. For hundreds of years, the peerage was largely hereditary or restricted to clergy. But now there are several routes to membership in the House of Lords. If you’re wondering if you should apply for a peerage, there are a few elements to consider. To help you decide, we’ve compiled this quick guide.
What is the role of the House of Lords?
According to the Parliament website, “The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. It works with the House of Commons to:
- make laws
- check and challenge the actions of the government, and
- provide a forum of independent expertise”
The peerage acts as a system of light checks and balances for the House of Commons with the goal of maintaining political neutrality in all decisions. They spend most of their time debating legislation and the rest on the investigation/evaluation of government actions and programmes. The overall goal of this House is the best outcome for the country, regardless of the political leanings of the prevailing government at the time.
How are nominations vetted?
The House of Lords Appointment Commission is concerned with the propriety of any nomination. According to their website, “Its role is to advise the Prime Minister if it has any concerns about the propriety of a nominee. The Commission takes the view that in this context, propriety means:
i) the individual should be in good standing in the community in general and with the public regulatory authorities in particular; and
ii) the past conduct of the nominee would not reasonably be regarded as bringing the House of Lords into disrepute.”
In order to check suitability, the commission requests a range of information from both the nominee and their political parties (if any). This will include any previous donations or positions held within a political party, their tax residence status and so on.
Who is considered for peerage?
Some of the technical and legal language online may be tough to decipher. So here are the plain-language qualities the Commission is looking for. They want nominees who:
- Can make a significant contribution to both general and specific issues under House consideration
- Have a record of accomplishments and achievements in their field
- Have the time to contribute, while balancing their normal life
- Understand the constitutional framework and can speak with authority
- Possess high moral character and the utmost integrity
- Are committed to public life generally
- Are currently separate from any political party and remain so
- Are resident and will stay resident in the UK for tax purposes
If you meet these qualifications, you may be a good candidate for a peerage. Not sure? Our self-assessment tool might help you decide.
How we can help
Submitting a nomination is often a gruelling process. Let us advise on the House of Lords Application Phase, the Reference Phase and the Interview Phase. We can help you to create the application and customise your CV to best showcase your suitability to the House of Lords Appointment Commission. Following your revisions, that documentation is submitted as phase one. In subsequent phases, we can support your selection of referees and with coaching for your interview. While no one can guarantee you a peerage, with the right documentation and preparation; success is more likely.