THE Speaker of the House of Lords is being urged to ban a Russian media mogul from the parliamentary estate amid reports Boris Johnson lobbied for his peerage despite security concerns.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the head of MI6 held security concerns over Lord Evgeny Lebedev – who has previously defended Vladimir Putin and expressed doubt over the murder of a Kremlin critic in London – as long as a decade ago.

The Prime Minister is accused of ignoring those fears to nominate his close friend for a position in the House of Lords in 2020. The pair had grown close during Johnson’s time as foreign secretary, attending parties at his Italian castle.

The SNP are now calling for Lebedev’s parliamentary pass to be revoked.

The party’s Westminster leader, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Lords, points out that the House of Lords Appointments Commission has not yet responded to requests to publish the vetting advice it provided to the Prime Minister in advance of Lord Lebedev’s appointment.

The National: Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford said: "It has been extensively reported that the Prime Minister learnt that the security services warned against granting Lord Lebedev a peerage on national security grounds. Despite this advice, it appears Boris Johnson forced through the appointment of his friend.”

He added: "It is obvious that whilst these security concerns remain, Lord Lebedev is clearly not a fit and proper person to act as a legislator nor a lobbyist in this democracy. He should not therefore be in a position to maintain privileged access to the parliamentary estate.

"I am therefore proposing that Lord Lebedev’s access to the parliamentary estate is immediately removed and that his security pass is revoked.

WATCH: Peer humiliated after falling asleep in House of Lords

"Until such time as full transparency, clarity and certainty is established regarding his national security status, I believe this is the only course that will act to protect our democracy."

Lord Lebedev acknowledged on Friday that his father, the Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, was “a long time ago” a KGB officer but denied being “a security risk to this country”.

On Sunday, Michael Gove defended his appointment to the House of Lords.

The National: Michael Gove appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, Sunday Morning

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I think there is a distinction to be drawn between the actions of parents and the actions of children.”

The Tory minister added: “Again, I think it’s important to draw a distinction between Evgeny Lebedev’s father, who obviously, as you pointed out, worked for the KGB, and Lord Lebedev himself, who is someone who has made his home in this country.

“Of course, there are questions that are going to be asked, but no-one has ever said to me that there are any specific security concerns that they have about Lord Lebedev.”

Asked if Johnson had “behaved a bit foolishly”, following reports he was warned about granting a peerage to his close friend, Gove said: “No, I don’t think so.”

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I’ve met Lord Lebedev, as the Prime Minister has. At no point did anyone ever say to me that it would be inappropriate to meet him and to talk to him.”

The Prime Minister has denied intervening to override security concerns about the peerage, branding the reports “simply incorrect”.

Lebedev, who owns the Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, has previously said in a statement on the Evening Standard website: “I am not a security risk to this country, which I love.

“My father a long time ago was a foreign intelligence agent of the KGB, but I am not some agent of Russia.”

The Moscow-born media mogul has long-held ties to the British establishment. In addition to the Prime Minister, Lord Lededev has long-standing friendships with A-list celebrities in the UK.

It is not currently within the powers of the Lord Speaker or the House of Lords Commission to block a serving member’s access to the parliamentary estate.

In limited and specific circumstances the House as a whole has the power to suspend or expel member, but only if an investigation by the Commissioner for Standards has found a member to be in serious breach of the Code of Conduct.

The Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, commented: “The House of Lords does an essential job checking legislation and challenging the government. However, there is a case for examination of the appointments process, including a more robust vetting system and potentially stronger powers for HOLAC, ensuring that new appointees are able to make a worthwhile contribution to the important work of the House.

“I would urge the Government to look at this, drawing upon the work of those who have already taken extensive evidence on this and proposed sensible reforms. I am always open to engagement with the Government on these matters.

“An examination of the appointments system is, however, just one element of what needs to be a bigger package of reform of the House of Lords, including reducing the size of the House and increasing the diversity of its members allowing us to reach out to all parts of the United Kingdom.