A PETITION to abolish the House of Lords has hit 100,000 in just two weeks gaining momentum in the wake of a "rolling cronyism scandal" in the honours system.

Thousands have added their support to a "no more unelected peers" online petition since the row erupted over political appointments at Number 10.

Downing Street dismissed allegations of cronyism over the appointment of ousted Tory MP Zac Goldsmith to the Lords so he can keep his job in the Government.

Number 10 also declined to directly comment on the Environment Minister’s apparent previous criticism of the peerage system as “seedy lists of party apparatchiks appointed by power-hungry party leaders”.

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His appointment came after Nicky Morgan controversially kept her Cabinet post as Culture Secretary – despite standing down as an MP at last week’s election – when she was made a life peer.

HeraldScotland:

The Electoral Reform Society, which is supporting the petition currently signed by over 102,000 says there are rumours other ex-MPs could join the second chamber - adding yet more party appointees to the near-800 member 'private members club'.

It is calling for the government's planned Democracy Commission to set out clear plans for overhauling the unelected Lords.

Jess Blair, a director of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "In just a couple of weeks over 100,000 people have said 'enough is enough' - ministers must end the cronyism in the unelected House of Lords. This private members' club is in urgent need of an overhaul.

"It's time to stop the Christmas handouts to defeated MPs and party donors, and move to a fairly elected revising chamber that represents the whole of the UK.

"In 2020, the government must move towards real democracy, put a stop to hereditary and unelected power - and finally ensure that all legislators are accountable. The calls for reform are growing by the day. Let's get on with it."

Labour has accused Boris Johnson of using the peerage system to appoint “jobs for mates” after voters in Richmond Park emphatically rejected Mr Goldsmith in the General Election.

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The Prime Minister’s partner, Carrie Symonds, worked on the future life peer’s failed bid to succeed Mr Johnson as London mayor.

Asked about the criticism at the weekend, the PM’s official spokesman said: “Zac Goldsmith was doing an excellent and committed job in Cabinet, dealing with really important issues, and he will now be able to get on with that work and carry on delivering.”

The spokesman repeated his praise when asked if it was reasonable to swiftly reward an MP who lost to the Liberal Democrats by 7,766 votes.

It was also pointed out that, in July 2012, Mr Goldsmith tweeted: “Seedy lists of party apparatchiks appointed by power hungry party leaders & insulated from any democratic pressure for 15 yrs? No thanks.”