THE SNP have criticised Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer for packing the unelected House of Lords with even more Tory and Labour party donors, friends and apparatchiks after 16 new peers were announced by Downing Street.

The list, published yesterday, includes Tory donor and Vote Leave co-founder Peter Cruddas, who gave the Brexit group £1.5 million ahead of the 2016 EU referendum and sat on its board, while Johnson and Michael Gove were on its campaign committee.

Cruddas was among the substantial donors to Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign, reportedly donating £50,000 and telling reporters: “I’m going to give him some money and back him. I think we need a Brexiteer as our next prime minister.”

The 16 new peers bring the total new appointments for the year up to 52, and will expand the unelected House of Lords to over 830 members – second in size only to the National People’s Congress of China, a nation of 1.4 billion people.

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Other appointees this year include Boris Johnson’s brother, Baroness Ruth Davidson, Brexiteer and former MEP Daniel Hannan, and chair of Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign, Jennifer Chapman.

Research by the Financial Times in August found at least 22 major donors had been given peerages by the Tories, Labour and LibDems since 2007 – with donations amounting to £50.4m between the three Westminster parties.

SNP House of Lords spokesperson Tommy Sheppard said: “The House of Lords is utterly undemocratic and should have been abolished decades ago – but the Tories and Labour continue to cling onto it and use it to reward their donors and cronies.

“Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer should be ashamed of their role in packing the Lords with even more friends, donors and apparatchiks. In other countries it would be considered corrupt.

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“The decision to appoint so many major Tory and Labour donors to the unelected Lords might be an amazing coincidence but many will conclude it absolutely stinks. There must be a fresh cash-for-honours inquiry to determine the role donations play in the rotten Westminster system.

“Westminster is broken beyond repair. It is clearer than ever that the best future for Scotland is to shake Westminster off and build a fairer and democratic society as an independent country.”

Johnson brushed aside objections from the House of Lords Appointments Commission to elevate Cruddas to the upper house.

On the appointment, a statement on the website said: “The commission advised the Prime Minister that it could not support one nominee – Peter Cruddas. The Prime Minister has considered the commission’s advice and wider factors and concluded that, exceptionally, the nomination should proceed.”