The prime minister said it was “odd” that peers are in line for an inflation-busting 3.1% increase in April.
The hike will give peers a tax-free income of more than £48,000 if they attend all 150 days the Lords typically sits in a year.
Johnson was quizzed on the pay hike after he reportedly nominated a string of Tory donors as well as ex-cabinet ministers Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke for peerages.
At prime minister’s questions in the Commons, SNP MP Kirsten Oswald said: “The new daily allowance for the unelected and unaccountable peers being stuffed into the House of Lords by the prime minister is set to rise to £323.
“The monthly allowance for a single person over-25 on universal credit is £317.82.
“Is that the levelling up the prime minister keeps talking about?”
Johnson replied: “I hate agreeing with these people – actually, I do find [...] that it is odd that the House of Lords has chosen to do that, but it is a decision for them.”
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The Lords pay increase stems from a 2018 decision to link increases in the daily allowance to the method used by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) for increasing the salaries of MPs, which rise in line with public sector earnings.
The PM’s comments came as former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she would give “serious consideration” to joining the Lords if offered a peerage.
Davidson stood down as leader last August due to a “conflict” she felt over Brexit having campaigned for Remain, and to spend more time with her son.
But Johnson is said to be lining Davidson up for a peerage.
She told DC Thomson’s The Stooshie podcast it was “flattering to be considered” for a seat in the Lords but dismissed the idea that this could be a route to government office for her.
Davidson said: “In terms of ‘do I want to sit in a ministerial office in London and leave my son?’ then no I don’t.”
Regarding the possibility of her joining the House of Lords, she said: “I don’t know if this is being offered – but if it is, I would need to give it serious consideration.”
Davidson said the role of the Lords is to “scrutinise legislation which has already been drafted in the House of Commons”.
In that respect she argued it is important to have people from different legislatures there to “bring their experience to bear on it”.