Truss names preferred candidate to chair Equalities and Human Rights Commission

Former Lib Dem peer Baroness Kishwer Falkner’s appointment is subject to a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing in parliament next month
Baroness Kishwer Falkner

By Jim Dunton

19 Oct 2020

Baroness Kishwer Falkner has been selected as the government’s preferred candidate to be the next chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Minister for equalities and women Liz Truss named the former Liberal Democrat peer, who now sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, following an independent selection process conducted in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

Truss said Falkner, who worked for the Lib Dems in the House of Commons and as the party’s director of international affairs and policy before joining the House of Lords in 2004, had a long-term commitment to equality and would bring significant experience to her new role.

“Baroness Falkner’s experience and commitment to equality means she’s an excellent candidate to take forward the important work of the EHRC,” Truss said.

“I look forward to working with her as we seek to deliver the government’s levelling up agenda, making sure that all corners of the country have equal access to opportunity.”

In addition to her work for the Lib Dems, Falkner has also worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat and as chief executive of youth-led development organisation Students Partnership Worldwide, which is now called Restless Development.

She chaired the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee in the House of Lords from 2015-2019 and was a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights between 2004-2010. She is currently a member of the Bank of England's Enforcement Decision Making Committee.

Falkner's appointment as new chair of equalities watchdog the EHCR is subject to a scrutiny hearing in parliament next month in front of the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

According to Falkner’s official parliament biography, she sat as a Lib Dem peer from June 2004 to July 2019; was non-affiliated between July last year and September this year; and has been a cross-bencher since 3 September.

David Isaacs stepped down as EHCR chair in August following four years in the role. Caroline Waters is serving as its interim chair.

The EHCR is an arm’s-length body funded by the Government Equalities Office.

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