MPs have accused David Cameron of undermining public confidence by awarding honours to five sacked ministers.
The Commons public administration select committee, chaired by Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, said the move flew in the face of assurances given by the government and represented a further "politicisation" of the honours system.
Former ministers James Paice, Edward Garnier, Nick Harvey and Gerald Howard were recommended for knighthoods by the Prime Minister after losing their jobs in the September Cabinet reshuffle. And Sir George Young - who has since returned to government as chief whip - was made a Companion of Honour.
The committee published a letter from Mr Jenkin to the PM complaining that it was "perplexed and disillusioned" by his decision.