Speaker Martin held office for nine years
Labour MPs have accused a House of Lords vetting panel of a "disgraceful and spiteful slur" on former Commons Speaker Michael Martin.
Mr Martin has been offered a seat in the Lords, having stepped down as Speaker, and as an MP, amid criticism of his handling of the expenses crisis.
The Lords panel reportedly pointed out that nominees should "enhance rather than diminish" the House of Lords.
Sixteen MPs are calling for chairman Lord Jay to withdraw the comments.
They have signed a Commons motion saying they were "dismayed" to read about the comments in the Guardian newspaper - adding Mr Martin had "served this House so well as an elected member with great integrity, charm and good temper".
The motion calls on the chairman of the Lords Appointment Committee to "withdraw without reservation such a disgraceful and spiteful slur on Speaker Martin".
Many Labour MPs are protective of Mr Martin, who they feel was the victim of class prejudice during his time as Speaker.
The Glasgow Springburn MP, a former sheet metal worker, was said to hate the nickname "Gorbals Mick", used by Parliamentary sketch writers.
But a series of MPs - including Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg - publicly said he should go after he attacked MPs who had criticised his handling of the expenses crisis. They argued he could not lead the reforms the Commons needed.
Downing Street has not commented on the reports saying any correspondence with the Lords Appointment Commission is "normally kept private".
It said the decision to grant Mr Martin an honour was based on a recommendation from the House of Commons in an uncontested motion.
According to The Guardian, the commission referred to the terms of its vetting procedure in a letter to the prime minister.
It said the commission's role "is to advise the prime minister if it has any concerns about the propriety of a nominee".
It adds: "Propriety means ... the individual should be a credible nominee. The commission's main criterion in assessing this is whether the appointment would enhance rather than diminish the workings and the reputation of the House of Lords itself and the appointments system generally."
Some Tory and Lib Dem peers have also criticised Mr Martin's peerage. Former Chancellor Lord Lawson told The Times a peerage for Mr Martin was a "mistake and unfortunate".
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott said: "Michael Martin should not be handed a P45 in an ermine envelope."