Three new Commissioners appointed to Electoral Commission Board

Board member update

Three new Commissioners nominated by political parties have been approved by the House of Commons to serve on the Electoral Commission Board. The new Commissioners replace individuals whose terms had come to an end.

  • Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the House of Lords Communications Select Committee, has been approved as the Conservative Party nominated Commissioner. He replaces Conservative peer Lord Horam.
  • Joan Walley, a former Labour MP for Stoke on Trent North, has been approved as the Labour Party nominated Commissioner. She replaces Bridget Prentice, a former Labour MP and UK Government minister.
  • Alastair Ross, a former DUP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly until 2017, has been approved as the Commissioner for the smaller parties. He replaces David Howarth, a former Liberal Democrat MP.

The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission. The proposal to appoint a member of the Commission’s Board is subject to consultation with the leaders of each registered political party that has two or more MPs in the House of Commons. No objections were received by the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the UK Parliament has subsequently approved the motion to appoint Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Joan Walley and Alastair Ross. The appointments will now be submitted for royal assent by Her Majesty the Queen.

Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

I am delighted to welcome our new Commissioners, who will bring to our discussions a wealth of experience in our electoral system, from standing for election to serving in political parties and campaigning. This will be invaluable as the Commission continues its work to protect the interests of voters through ensuring free and fair elections, regulating political finance, and promoting greater transparency in our democratic life.

Lord Gilbert of Panteg said:

Having worked in politics for 30 years I have come to have huge respect for the extraordinary public service of elected politicians and especially volunteers from all our political parties. Public service of this order is to be valued and I will champion those, from all political backgrounds, who step forward and fight for their beliefs. I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to the Commission and look forward to working with fellow commissioners in its vital role in our democracy.

Joan Walley said:

I am delighted to have been appointed to serve as a nominated commissioner at this critical time. Our parliamentary democracy is precious and must remain so for future generations. I look forward to taking on this new responsibility and the challenges ahead.

Alastair Ross said:

I am looking forward to taking up post and working constructively with colleagues at what is such an important and interesting time for the work of the Electoral Commission. The electoral landscape is ever-changing; disruptive technological change creates both new opportunities for campaigning and engagement, but also presents new challenges to protect the integrity of the electoral process and ensure public confidence in our democracy.

The Commission Board is made up of:

  • a Chair
  • four Commissioners nominated by political parties represented in the House of Commons
  • three Commissioners representing Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • two other Commissioners

Members of the Commission Board are required to declare any interests which may represent a conflict with their role at the Commission, and must also follow our published Code of Conduct.


For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office:

Extra notes

Notes to editors

  • The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy,aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

    The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

  • The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission and is set out in law (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000). Section 5 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, which inserted a new section 3A into PPERA, provides for four of the Electoral Commissioners to be persons put forward by the registered leader of a qualifying party for consideration for appointment. The Committee published a report on the appointment process on 15 November, which includes the CVs of the three new Commissioners.
  • Find out more about the Electoral Commission Board.