Prime Minister appoints new committee chairs

Prime Minister confirms appointments of Lord Paul Bew as Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and Lord Evans of Weardale as the Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life

• Lord Bew confirmed as Chair of House of Lords Appointments Commission
• Lord Evans of Weardale appointed Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life
• Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, welcomes both appointments and pays tribute to the work of Lord Bew’s predecessor

Today (Thursday, 25 October), the Prime Minister has confirmed the appointments of Lord Bew as Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and Lord Evans of Weardale as the Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

The appointments follow open recruitment exercises, including pre-appointment scrutiny by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Lord Bew

Lord Bew is the current Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Professor of Irish Politics at Queen’s University Belfast and former historical adviser to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He was appointed as a crossbench peer in 2007 following his contributions to the Belfast Agreement.

The Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden MP, welcomed Lord Bew’s appointment:

"Lord Bew has demonstrated his dedication to ensuring diversity in appointments in his post as Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. I welcome his clear commitment to the principle that the membership of the House of Lords should better reflect the nation."

The Minister also took the opportunity to thank Lord Bew’s predecessor, Lord Kakkar:

"Lord Kakkar’s steady handling of the Commission has been vital to the continued integrity of the appointments process. His advice and approach have been hugely valued."

The House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC) has two main functions:

• to recommend individuals for appointment as non-party-political life peers
• to vet nominations for life peers, including those nominated by the UK political parties, to ensure the highest standards of propriety

The Commission’s Chair is appointed for a non-renewable, five-year term of office. More information about the Commission can be found on the House of Lords Appointments Commission website.

Lord Evans of Weardale

Lord Evans of Weardale is the new Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, to fill the position left vacant by Lord Bew. Lord Evans spent 33 years in the UK Security Service, six as Director General, when he was a senior advisor to the UK government on national security policy and a member of the Prime Minister’s National Security Council. Lord Evans was appointed as a crossbench peer for his contribution to public service in 2014.

Minister Dowden also welcomed Lord Evans’ appointment:

"The Committee on Standards in Public Life contributes to the maintenance of the diversity, integrity, and vibrancy of representative democracy in the UK. Lord Evans has demonstrated all the skills necessary for this sensitive post, including the highest integrity and an understanding of the issues of standards in public life."

The Committee on Standards in Public Life is an advisory non-departmental public body. Its purpose is to examine areas of concern about the standards of conduct of public office holders, advise the Prime Minister accordingly, and to promote the highest standards of conduct in public life. More information about the Committee can be found on the Committee on Standards in Public Life GOV.UK page.

The Committee has eight members:

• a chair and four independent members are appointed by the Prime Minister, following open competition for a non-renewable, five year term of office
• three members are appointed on the recommendation of the leaders of the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats

Both roles were advertised on the Centre for Public Appointments website, which sets out further details of the appointments.

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