A petition to revoke the knighthood recently awarded to Tony Blair has reached 1m signatures in just a few days.
Blair was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British order of chivalry, in the new year honours list.
But the honour for the former prime minister has provoked controversy.
The current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has defended his predecessor’s record and said the honour was deserved, highlighting Blair’s achievements including bringing in the national minimum wage, setting up Sure Start centres for families and his efforts over the Northern Ireland peace process.
Angus Scott, who started 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.
“He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.”
Petitions on the parliament website are considered for debate by MPs if they pass 100,000 signatories, but petitions on Change.org, which describes itself as “the world’s platform for change”, have no more than a moral force.
Blair, who left Downing Street more than 14 years ago, was one of three new appointments to the Garter announced by the palace. Such moves are in the Queen’s gift, made without prime ministerial advice; and they are for life. Among those to have given their backing to the petition is Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son, Gordon, was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in 2004. She told the Daily Record that she had written to the honours committee to ask for an explanation for Blair’s knighthood.
Photo – (FILE) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN