Petition to strip Sir Tony Blair of Knighthood passes 250,000 signatures

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File photo dated 09/04/18 of former prime minister Tony Blair who will become a Sir after being appointed as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in the New Year honours list. Issue date: Friday December 31, 2021.
A petition calling for Tony Blair's knighthood to be rescinded has reached more than 250,000 signatures. (PA)

A petition calling for former prime minister Sir Tony Blair's knighthood to be rescinded has been signed by more than a quarter of a million people.

The ex-Labour leader was appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter - the highest possible honour - in the New Year's Honours List.

But the accolade has sparked a backlash from critics, with some saying the former prime minister doesn't deserve an honour, and others going further and branding him a "war criminal" for his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq.

A petition calling for the honour to be rescinded had hit more than 250,000 signatures by Sunday evening (2 January).

Watch: New Year Honours: Tony Blair awards knighthood

The petition, started by Angus Scott, says: "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.

"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."

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Sir Tony, who was PM between 1997 and 2007, has come under fire repeatedly for his involvement in the war in Iraq.

Knighthoods have been bestowed regularly on former prime ministers.

Following the announcing, Sir Tony 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."

File photo dated 23/05/98 of British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking during a media conference at Chequers after the announcement of the Northern Ireland referendum. Prime Minister Tony Blair predicted that referendums on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement would end international perceptions that violence in Northern Ireland
Blair has come under fire since receiving a Knighthood, with some branding him a war criminal for his decision to take Britain to war over Iraq. (Stock image: PA)

Amid the backlash against his honour, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he thought all former prime ministers should be offered a knighthood.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday, 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."

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