The former prime minister is unworthy of the honours due to “war crimes” he ordered to be committed in Iraq during his tenure from 1997 to 2007.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has been made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which is a senior form of knighthood granted by the Queen herself. Even the Honours Forfeiture Committee – a body that can remove knighthood from those involved in scandals – cannot recommend stripping honours awarded this way.
A petition started on Change.org to have Tony Blair’s knighthood rescinded eclipsed a million signatories on Friday.
New supporters of the idea that Blair should not be honoured with the Queen’s highest form of praise have continued to arrive since New Year, when it was announced that the ex-prime minister had been made a knight.
The petition was started by actor and presenter Angus Scott, who on Thursday thanked everyone for their support as the number of signatories reached 800,000. A day later, this number had surpassed 990,000 and swiftly reached a million by the end of Friday.
According to those objecting to Blair’s knighthood, the former prime minister is unworthy of the honours due to “war crimes” he ordered to be committed in Iraq during his tenure from 1997 to 2007.
“Families of soldiers who died in both Iraq and Afghanistan are pleading for their message to be heard by both the Government and the Palace”, Scott wrote on Change.org. “These families have not only had to suffer the devastation of losing a loved one but are now suffering the distress of witnessing the man responsible for their loved one’s death being publicly honoured”.
Blair is claimed to have “caused irreparable damage” to both the UK Constitution and “the very fabric of the nation’s society”. The signatories of the petition accuse him of “causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts”.
Still, Scott, as the initiator of the petition, remains sceptical about its future. Speaking to the BBC, he said that “realistically, it’s unlikely to end up in the rescinding of the knighthood order by the Queen”. On Change.org, however, he said that one million signatories are needed so that the campaign could “have any chance of having an effect”.
Blair, who can now use the title “Sir” as he is a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry), has not commented on the petition. After being granted the knighthood by Buckingham Palace, he said it was an “immense honour” for him.