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The BBC's John Pienaar
"This change was designed to modernise the House of Lords"
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Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 03:52 GMT 04:52 UK
Public's chance to win peerage
House of Lords interior
Wanted: Peers from a wide range of backgrounds
Members of the public will be able to nominate themselves for a seat in the House of Lords under an initiative being unveiled on Wednesday.

Would-be peers will be asked to submit an application form along with a CV and two references to the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

The move is the latest stage in the continuing process of modernising the House of Lords, and has been designed to catch the public's imagination.

The aim is to appoint peers from a wide range of social backgrounds who wish to play an active role in the House.

Those wishing to be considered must be over 21 and a UK, Irish or Commonwealth citizen.


Competition for one of the 10 places a year is expected to be tough, but those appointed will hold their peerage - and the title that goes with it - for life.

The commission, chaired by crossbench peer Lord Dennis Stevenson, is said to hope the appointments will help invigorate the upper chamber, drawing in more members from groups such as women and ethnic minorities.

The commission, which will also vet the nominations of the political parties and oversee the honours system, was set up by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, last May.

It is made up of three independent members and three nominated by the main political parties, and will make recommendations to the Queen on the basis of individual merit.

The first candidates chosen under the new initiative are set to be appointed next spring.

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