Is there a centralised and complete list of the number of Lords that have been appointed against the advice of the appointment commission?
Not as such, but that’s because it would be rather short - so far, only Lord Cruddas has been appointed to a life peerage by the Prime Minister against the advice of the Commission.
When the Commission reports to the Prime Minister that it is unable to support the appointment of a nominee, and the advice of the Commission is rejected, the Chairman of the Commission has undertaken to write to the relevant select committee. In this case, this is the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. This process was followed by Lord Bew about Cruddas in 2020, and the letters may be found here. No other letters have been sent, so we can infer that this appointment was the only case in which the advice of the Commission was ignored.
Despite media reports to the contrary, the Commission did not withhold its support for the nomination of Lord Lebedev. The Chairman (still Lord Bew) made this very clear to the select committee when he gave oral evidence to them in April 2022. He notes that while the Commission often makes comments on nominees such as “There are things in this person’s career that will lead to negative public comment”, and suggests that it would be reasonable to assume that such a comment was made in the case of Lebedev, the Commission did not withhold its approval of the nomination as it did with Cruddas.
At one point, he mentions the case:
The other key point is that, in the history of 2020, my Committee is the first to actually say no to a Prime Minister. It’s in the public domain. We wrote to you about it—you will remember, Chairman—and signalled what we had done. The Prime Minister has publicly put his case with respect to that appointment into the public domain very forcefully, as well.
This is a Committee that was prepared to say no when it felt it had no other alternative under the criteria I have been talking to you about. We have shown a determination to do that and to stand and defend those criteria, come what may—therefore putting the future of HOLAC into a much more difficult position, by the decision that we took, so I hope you would assume that we carried out with integrity our work on the nomination you are asking about.
As Lord Bew has made it clear that the Prime Minister ignoring the advice of the Commission in 2020 for Lord Cruddas was the first instance, and there have been no other letters written to the select committee since, we can conclude that this has been the only instance so far.