This goes back to Harold Wilson in 1976 – so there is nothing new about controversial prime ministerial farewell honours lists.
Wilson’s retirement honours list was called the “Lavender List” because Marcia Williams (the head of his political office and herself ennobled as Baroness Falkender in the list) allegedly wrote the original draft on lavender-coloured notepaper.
All sorts of Harold Wilson’s colleagues and chums were honoured in the list. The most controversial of them was the bloke who made Wilson’s trademark Gannex macs – who became Baron Kagan. This was added to the fellow’s knighthood, which he received in Wilson’s previous resignation honours list in 1970, and no doubt comforted him (Kagan) as he spent time at, ahem, Her Majesty’s pleasure in 1981.