Two events have changed the way Members of the House of Lords are appointed: the 1999 House of Lords Act, which ended hereditary Peers' right to pass membership down through family, and the introduction of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. There are now a number of routes to becoming a Member of the House of Lords.
House of Lords Appointments Commission
Set up in May 2000, this independent, public body recommends individuals for appointment as non-party-political life peers and vets nominations for life peers to ensure the highest standards of propriety.
Takes place at the end of a Parliament, when peerages can be given to MPs - from all parties - who are leaving the House of Commons.
Resigning Prime Ministers can recommend peerages for fellow politicians, political advisors or others who have supported them.
Political lists/'working Peers'
Lords appointed to boost the strengths of the three main parties. Regular attendance in the House is expected, usually on the frontbench as a spokesman or whip. The media has dubbed these Members 'working Peers'.
Ad hoc announcements
Used to announce someone appointed as a Minister who is not already a Lord.
Archbishops and bishops
The number of bishops in the House has been limited to 26 since the mid-nineteenth century. If a vacancy comes up the most senior serving bishop is appointed. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York usually get life peerages on retirement.
Traditionally, peerages are awarded to former Speakers of the House of Commons.