More than 500k people have signed a petition to rescind former prime minister Tony Blair’s knighthood
The petition is on course to become one of the most widely signed on the Change.org platform
The online petition, which was launched immediately after the honour was announced, has received almost 600,000 signatures at time of writing.
The former Labour prime minister has proven to be a controversial choice for a prize gong in the New Year’s honours, with the petition set to become one of the most widely signed on the Change.org platform.
At a glance: 5 key points
- More than 540,000 people have signed a petition on the Change.org website calling for Tony Blair to have his knighthood rescinded
- Blair is to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest honour possible ranking, in the New Year’s honours list
- The text of the petition says: “Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.”
- People who have signed the petition say the decision “makes a mockery of the knighthood” while many others highlight his role in the Iraq war as reason to oppose the honour
- Blair served as Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007, making him the second longest-serving PM in modern times after Margaret Thatcher
What’s been said?
Former Labour leader Tony Blair said: “It is an immense honour to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.
“It was a great privilege to serve as prime minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country.”
Angus Scott, who launched the petition, wrote on Change.org, “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society.
“Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.
“We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed.”
Speaking to GMB, Keir Starmer said he didn’t agree that the issue was a “thorny one” and that Blair “deserves the honour”.
He said: "Obviously I respect the fact that people have different views. I understand there are strong views on the Iraq war. There were back at the time and there still are, but that does not detract from the fact that Tony Blair was a very successful prime minister of this country and made a huge difference to the lives of millions of people."
The House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that all former PMs should be given the same honour, including Tony Blair and David Cameron because it is “one of the toughest jobs in the world”.
He said: “Whatever people might think, it is one of the toughest jobs in the world and I think it is respectful and it is the right thing to do, whether it is to Tony Blair or to David Cameron. They should all be offered that knighthood when they finish as prime minister.
“I would say if you’ve been prime minister of this country, I do believe the country should recognise the service they’ve given.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.