The Conservative Party has been accused of guaranteeing peerages to a group of multi-millionaires who have donated more than £3 million to the party.

Once they donate the required amount, wealthy backers appear to get a seat at the House of Lords. 

All 16 of the Conservatives’ main treasurers, excluding the most recent, were offered a seat in the Lords in the past two decades including Peter Cruddas, Lord Spencer, Lord Fraser, Lord Lupton and Lord Farmer.

The Sunday Times and Open Democracy conducted an investigation that revealed six former Tory ministers had felt uncomfortable about this practice.

One ex-party chairman said: ‘The truth is the entire political establishment knows this happens and they do nothing about it…The most telling line is once you pay your £3 million, you get your peerage.’ 

One former minister called it “a scandal in plain sight”, while another said that the law of omerta silences all discussions about a connection between donations and seats.

Peter Cruddas's peerage was pushed through by Boris Johnson despite the Lords appointments commission's recommendation

Boris Johnson overruled the Lords appointment commission recommendation and pushed Peter Cruddas into peerage 

Boris Johnson has been dragged through a number of 'sleaze-row' and cronyism scandals in the party

Boris Johnson is being dragged through several cronyism, sleaze row and other scandals.  

The wealthy contributor appears to be offered a seat in the House of Lords if they take on a temporary role as party treasurer and donate more than £3 million, according to the investigation

The wealthy contributor appears to be offered a seat in the House of Lords if they take on a temporary role as party treasurer and donate more than £3 million, according to the investigation 

Boris Johnson was the one who pushed for Peter Cruddas to be peer, despite Lords appointments commissions’ warning. 

One of its members told the investigation the decision ‘left a bad taste in my mouth’.

The commission advised against the honour because Mr Cruddas resigned as Conservative co-treasurer in 2012 after it was claimed he offered access to then PM and his chancellor in return for donations and it is believed he has been turned down numerous times before.

According to data from The Electoral Commission Mr Cruddas donated a total of £4,238,299.66 to the party and campaigns it’s supported going as far back as 2009. 

John Major, ex-Prime Minster of Britain became the latest victim in today’s sleaze row in which Johnson and his party have been involved.

Speaking of Downing Street refusing to rule out the possibility of recommending Mr Paterson a peerage, Major told BBC Radio 4: ‘There have been some extraordinary elevations to the peerage in recent years, quite extraordinary.

‘Quite apart from the over-large number of peers that have been put there, I think it would be rather extraordinary if that happens and I’m not at all sure if it would be approved of by the House of Lords or by those who vet peerages.’

Johnson was also dragged into a fresh row last night as he refused to say how much his free holiday in a luxury Spanish villa owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family was worth.

Lord Spencer

Lord Lupton

The investigation suggests treasurers are rewarded with peerage if they donate more than £3 million to the party 

Lord Fraser

Lord Farmer

Insiders called the alleged system of appointment a “scandal in plain view,” according to an investigation.

Labour demanded the Commons standards watchdog launch investigations into both Boris Johnson’s stay and the lavish revamp of his Downing Street flat.

The PM’s latest list of ministerial interests revealed that the escape was paid for by Lord Goldsmith (an ex-MP to whom he granted a peerage after losing his Commons seat). 

After the Conservative Party conference, he spent about a week in Marbella’s hills with Carrie and Wilfred.

According to the investigation a Tory insider said peerages were dangled like ‘carrots’ in the ‘cynical operation’ and told of an instance where a donor was convinced to give £1 million because it may lead to a seat. 

Lord Spencer, left, is one of the 16 of the Conservatives' main treasurers, excluding the most recent, who were offered a seat in the Lords in the past two decades

Lord Spencer (left) is one of 16 Conservatives main treasurers. This excludes the latest, who was offered a place in the Lords during the last two decades.

Lord Spencer pictured with Jacob Rees-Mogg

Lord Spencer with Jacob Rees – Mogg

The party has received criticisms from several sources that the system rewards wealthy benefactors, but there is no evidence to suggest any donors were offered peerage or requested it in return for donations. 

The lawyers for Lord Spencer have refuted the claims that Spencer took the Treasury role to peerage. Lord Farmer said that he gave the party money ‘because of his desire to see a Conservative government. Others declined to comment. 

According to a spokesperson for the Conservative Party, it does not believe that big donors should be barred from being able to sit in the legislature because they ‘contribute towards political causes and/or parties’. 

MailOnline has reached the Conservative Party’s Peter Cruddas and Lord Spencer for clarification.