Cameron's honours to donors and pals 'would embarrass medieval court'
David Cameron's final honours list has been denounced as "a sorry legacy" after it was confirmed he has dished out gongs to political allies in a move that critics claimed amounted to cronyism.
The former prime minister created 13 Tory life peers giving the Tories 207 - one more than Labour - in a round of rewards that has been described as " so full of cronies it would embarrass a medieval court".
Tory treasurer Andrew Fraser, and political aides Gabrielle Bertin and Camilla Cavendish who both worked at Number 10, are all being given peerages.
Knighthoods have been given to Cabinet ministers Michael Fallon and Patrick McLoughlin and former ministers Oliver Letwin and Hugo Swire, while former chancellor George Osborne becomes a Companion of Honour.
Notable by their absence are former Conservative treasurer Michael Spencer, whose nomination for a peerage was reportedly blocked by an independent advisory committee, and Tory donor Ian Taylor, who asked for his name to be withdrawn after negative publicity.
Samantha Cameron's stylist Isabel Spearman received an OBE for political and public service.
There were awards, too, for Mr Osborne's aides, including OBEs for chief of staff Thea Rogers and her deputy Eleanor Wolfson, and an MBE for his constituency manager Jane Robertson.
And key campaigners in the EU referendum were also rewarded, with a knighthood for Andrew Cook, the treasurer of Conservatives In, and a CBE for Stronger In campaign director Will Straw.
In total 16 new life peers were created, including Shami Chakrabarti who was nominated by the Labour Party, and Sir Nicholas Macpherson and Sir Peter Ricketts who will sit as crossbenchers.
Democracy campaigners the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) called on new Prime Minister Theresa May to "sort out this mess once and for all" by allowing voters to choose members of the Upper House of Parliament.
Chief executive Katie Ghose said: "For a Prime Minister who promised to cut the cost of politics, David Cameron is leaving a big bill for the taxpayer as he leaves office.
"His parting gift of 16 lords is a sorry legacy, both in terms of cost to the taxpayer and the quality of our democracy.
"Mr Cameron's Lords legacy could have been about real, democratic reform.
"Instead, he has unfortunately chosen to follow the well-trodden route of every other PM and packed the second chamber with former politicians, donors and party hacks.
"These unelected peers will cost the taxpayer millions over the long-term - hardly a fitting goodbye."
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "David Cameron's resignation honours list is so full of cronies it would embarrass a medieval court.
"He is not the first prime minister to leave office having rewarded quite so many friends, but he should be the last.
"For the reputation of future leaders, such appointments should be handed over to an independent panel."
Mr Cameron's former policy guru Steve Hilton has also criticised the list, branding it a "serious type of very British corruption" and a "symptom of a corrupt and decaying democracy".
Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said the confirmation of the resignation honours list shows how "Theresa May has flunked her first test as Conservative Prime Minister".
"If she were serious about governing for the many not the few Theresa May would have vetoed this list of Tory donors, political advisers and ministers," he added.
"The fact she has allowed this cronyism to go ahead shows that the Tories will always put their own interests first."
Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell tweeted: "If there was honour in our honours there ain't none now. Embarrassing to be British sometimes."
Ukip's Douglas Carswell described it as "like a loser list from team Remain" while Greens leader Natalie Bennett wrote: "David Cameron has with #honourslist demonstrated again that the 18th-century tradition of patronage has no place in 21st-century politics."
Crossbencher Lord Digby Jones, who was given a peerage by Labour, said his reaction to the list had been "They're taking the mickey" and joked that the No 10 cat would be next.
He told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "They might as well make Larry the cat one - he's a good mouser.
"At the end of the day you have got to differentiate between reward and contribution and benefit to the nation."
Lord Jones said it was right to award gongs for political and public service but peerages should be reserved for experts.
"Get them from business, like me, get them from the environment, from education, from medicine, from the armed services," he added.