A major Tory donor reportedly nominated for a knighthood in David Cameron's proposed resignation honours has withdrawn his name from the list amid accusations of cronyism.
Vitol oil boss Ian Taylor has written to David Cameron and his successor Theresa May asking that his name does not go forward on the list, which was leaked to the Sunday Times.
Opposition MPs have demanded a complete overhaul of the honours system after it was claimed Cameron is pushing to reward personal aides, political donors and senior figures on the losing campaign to Remain in the European Union.
But May has said she will not interfere in the honours process because it would set a bad precedent.
As the row over the leaked list rumbled on, the Sun pictured the former PM, who resigned with his authority shattered following the Brexit vote, enjoying a beach holiday in his swimming shorts.
Taylor said: "In recent days, speculation in the media has suggested that I may be recognised in the forthcoming resignation honours list. This has been accompanied by seriously inaccurate comments about the company I lead. In these circumstances, I think it is right I request that my name does not go forward, if indeed I was being considered for an honour.
"Tonight, I am writing both to the outgoing and the current Prime Minister requesting that I would not wish to be considered for an honour at this time. I will, of course, be continuing to participate actively in all the causes that I and my family passionately believe in, notably broadening access to the arts for everyone."
Taylor donated £500,000 to the Better Together campaign to reject Scottish independence in the 2013 referendum.
At the time the campaign faced calls to return the money, with then-Scottish first minister Alex Salmond raising concerns about Vitol, which was heavily fined over its role in the Iraq oil for food scandal.
Taylor has also donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tories in recent years.
The cronyism controversy was sparked by reports that Cameron had recommended knighthoods for four pro-EU cabinet colleagues - Philip Hammond, Michael Fallon, Patrick McLoughlin and David Lidington.
The Sunday Times also reported that Cameron requested a Companion of Honour award for George Osborne, who was dismissed as chancellor by May.