Boris Johnson has been accused of showing “nothing but contempt for the House” after he elevated a Tory donor to the upper chamber.
The Prime Minister was faced with a cronyism row after he brushed aside objections from the House of Lords Appointments Commission to elevate Tory former treasurer Peter Cruddas.
He rejected “historic concerns” raised about Mr Cruddas, relating to allegations that he offered access to then-prime minister David Cameron in exchange for donations.
Mr Johnson said: “The most serious accusations levelled at the time were found to be untrue and libellous,” and an internal Conservative Party investigation “found there had been no intentional wrongdoing”.
“Mr Cruddas has made outstanding contributions in the charitable sector and in business and has continued his long track record of committed political service,” the Prime Minister said.
“His charitable foundation, which supports disadvantaged young people, has pledged over £16 million to good causes through over 200 charities and he is a long-standing supporter of both the Prince’s Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”
Lord Speaker Lord Fowler led concerns about the number of peers appointed by the Prime Minister.
He said: “Mr Johnson has added 16 to his list of appointments bringing the total for the year up to 52 new peers over two lists.
“This list will bring the total in the House of Lords to over 830 – almost 200 more than the House of Commons.”
Former Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd also spoke out, while Lord Balfe said Johnson has shown “nothing but contempt for the House”.
Lord Lexden said “Johnson’s shamelessness has created the worst honours scandal since Lloyd George”, adding “our constitution is not safe in his hands”.