David Cameron has prompted a furious Conservative Party row after being accused of "devaluing the honours system" by rewarding his No 10 colleagues and his wife Samantha's stylist in his resignation honours list.
Senior Tory MPs reacted with anger at Cameron's decision to put his staff forward for the privileges as he was accused of "cronyism" in an unprecedented attack on the former leader.
A list published by The Sunday Times newspaper detailed the former Prime Minister's request for honours to be bestowed on 48 advisers and "Remain" campaigners including two major donors who helped fund the case to stay in the European Union to the tune of more than 650,000 ($1.2 million).
Isabel Spearman, who served as stylist to Samantha Cameron during her time in No 10, and two of Cameron's former drivers, will be handed awards, as will Will Straw, the son of Labour heavyweight Jack Straw and leader of the unsuccessful Remain campaign.
Theresa May, the new Prime Minister, and her allies are expected to come under pressure to ensure that there are no concerns that the honours system is being abused.Although the outgoing Prime minister is entitled to publish an honours list on leaving No 10, neither Gordon Brown or Tony Blair chose to do so. The list is expected to be approved by the honours committee in the coming weeks.
A senior minister who asked not to be named said that Cameron's list would provoke anger among backbench MPs and Leave-supporting Conservative members.
The minister said: "I don't object to the outgoing Prime Minister giving rewards to people who have given long service in his office but to think that people may have been influenced on their position in the referendum in a bid to be rewarded or that people like Will Straw, who have done nothing to help the Prime Minister and have probably done more to harm the Conservative Party in government, devalues the system and will make a lot of people very angry."
Tom Watson, the Labour deputy leader, said Cameron's attempt to reward his friends presented the worst of the "old boy's network". Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said that if the list was accepted it "will destroy any remaining shred of respect for the honours system".
The controversy comes after Cameron gave his hairdresser an MBE for "services to hairdressing" in the 2014 New Year's honours list.