London, July 23: Indian-origin peer Ajay Kakkar has been made the chairman of the influential House of Lords Appointments Commission, an advisory body which selects new independent members of UK's House of Lords.
Kakkar was appointed to the post by British Prime Minister David Cameron. The appointment will be for a single non-renewable term of five years and will be effective from October 1. "I am pleased to appoint Lord Kakkar to this role. The committee will benefit hugely from his vast experience and integrity.
I am grateful for the contribution Lord Jay has made over the last five years," Cameron said in a statement. The commission's role is to select new independent members of the House of Lords and to vet party-political nominations put forward by the political parties.
In its position as an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Cabinet Office, the commission selects independent members on merit and on their commitment to the work of the House of Lords, in scrutinising legislation, sitting on committees and participating in debates.
Lord Kakkar is Professor of Surgery at University College London (UCL) and Consultant Surgeon University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2011. His research interests focus on the prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thromboembolic disease and cancer associated thrombosis.
He was appointed an independent non-party-political peer by the House of Lords Appointments Commission in 2010 and is a member of EU Sub-Committee B. He is chair of the Health Honours Committee, a member of the General Medical Council (GMC) and a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.
As the new chairman of the Lords' Appointments commission, he will be paid on the basis of a non-pensionable salary of 8,000 pounds per annum and expected to commit an average of two to three days a month. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee held a pre-appointment hearing on July 18 and published a report on the choice of Lord Kakkar for the post.
"We are satisfied that Lord Kakkar has the professional competence and personal independence required for the post of Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. We therefore support his appointment and wish him every success in his new role," the report concluded.