UK Government

House of Lords Appointments Commission: House of Lords Appointments Commission – new non-party-political peers

Press Release   •   Feb 09, 2010 10:42 GMT

Four new non-party-political peers recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission were announced today.

The new peers are:

• Sir Michael Bichard, Chair of the Design Council and Director of the Institute for Government
• Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain’s most successful Paralympian
• Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House and Chair of the Cultural Olympiad and
• Professor Ajay Kakkar, Surgeon and Medical Researcher with a special interest in thrombosis
They will sit on the crossbenches.

Notes to Editors
1. Media enquiries about the work of the House of Lords Appointments Commission should go to Maggie O'Boyle on 07880 740627. Further information on the Appointments Commission can be obtained from

2. Sir Michael Bichard has been Chair of the Design Council (since 2008) and is also Director of the Institute for Government, having been formerly rector at the University of Arts London.  He was Permanent Secretary to the Department for Education (1990-95) and the Department for Education and Employment (1995-2001) after a long career in local authority administration, including being Chief Executive of both Brent BC and Gloucester CC during the 1980’s. Michael Bichard chaired the inquiry into the Soham murder cases in 2004.  He has chaired several organisations including the Legal Services Commission and Rathbone Training Ltd, and was non-executive director of Reed Executive Plc.

3. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is Britain’s most successful Paralympian, with 11 gold medals in wheelchair racing to her name from the Paralympics, and 7 gold medals from World Championships.  She also set 30 world records throughout her career. Since her retirement in May 2007, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson has campaigned to raise the profile of disability athletics.   Since September 2008 Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson has sat on the Board of Transport for London where she is Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee.  She is a Non-Executive Director of the Board of UK Athletics and led the UK Athletics Review into anti-doping policy. She is also Vice-Chair of the Athletes Committee of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and for eight years was a Member of the Sports Council for Wales.

4. Tony Hall is a broadcast journalist with a long and distinguished career in senior programmes and production management for the BBC. He was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in 2001 after serving as the Director and then Chief Executive of BBC News and Current Affairs from 1989-2001 and had previously worked in various editorial and production roles for the Corporation. Tony Hall oversaw the establishment of the BBC News website and new radio stations and television channels including Radio 5 Live and BBC Parliament. He continues his work in broadcasting as Non-Executive Director of the Channel 4 Corporation and has also chaired a series of reviews for government departments including DCSF and the MoD.   He was the inaugural Chair of the Skills Council for cultural and creative industries. In July 2009 he was asked by the Government and Mayor of London to set up and chair a board to direct the Cultural Olympiad and has also joined the Board of LOCOG.

5. Professor Ajay Kakkar is Professor of Surgical Sciences at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London and is also the School’s Dean for External Relations. He is a Consultant Surgeon to University College Hospital, London and has a research interest in the prevention and treatment of thrombosis (blood clots), particularly in cancer patients. Professor Kakkar is Chair of the Clinical Quality Directorate of University College London Partners Academic Health Science Partnership, Director of the Thrombosis Research Institute, London, and lectures and publishes widely on his specialism. He has worked with the NHS on its strategy to prevent Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). Professor Kakkar was awarded a Hunterian Professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1997. He is Chair of the Board of Governors at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, and a Trustee of the Dulwich Estate.

6. The Appointments Commission is a non-statutory advisory body set up by the Prime Minister to make recommendations for non-party-political peerages. The Commission’s remit is to find people of distinction who will bring authority and expertise to the House of Lords. The Commission recommends individuals on merit and their ability to contribute effectively to the work of the House. The House of Lords Appointments Commission has now recommended a total of 55 non-party-political peerages to the Prime Minister, drawn from well over 4,000 nominations. The Commission also vets nominations for life peers, including those nominated by the UK political parties, for propriety.

7. The membership of the House of Lords Appointments Commission comprises four independent members: Lord (Michael) Jay of Ewelme GCMG (Chairman), Baroness Jane Campbell, Professor Dame Joan Higgins and Dr John Low and three members nominated by each of the three main political parties: Rt Hon Baroness (Brenda) Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, Lord (Navnit) Dholakia, and Rt Hon Lord (Douglas) Hurd of Westwell. The Chairman and independent members were selected through open competition.


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