It’s been a difficult few years for Paul Bew, chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC). Bew picked up his own peerage in 2007, but since being appointed chair of Holac in 2018, he has been busy fighting off the claims of others put forward for a peerage. There was the Lord Lebedev farrago back in 2020 and more recently the row over Boris Johnson’s resignation honours’ list. The names who got on to the latter list caused enough of a scandal: one wonders who didn’t make it that far.
For Mr S has now obtained a Freedom of Information response from Holac which shows that almost one in ten names put forward to the agency between 2019 to 2023 did not make the cut. In that time, a total of 109 nominees were proposed by the Prime Minister to HOLAC; ten were subsequently unsuccessful. The Commission has written to No. 10 to advise that they cannot support a nominee six times (for five distinct nominees), with the vetting unable to be completed for the remaining nominees. Each nominee was vetted by the Security Service; in one case the Serious Fraud Office was alerted.