Tony Blair POLL: Should Queen strip ex-PM of knighthood as 430,000 sign petition?
Tony Blair: John McTernan and Andrew Castle clash on Iraq
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The petition, calling for the Queen to remove the honour, looks set to reach 500,000 signatures and will become ‘one of the top signed’ on the Change.org website. The petition reads: “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 [Iraq and Afghanistan war].
“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.”
After being deployed by Mr Blair, a total of 179 British Armed Forces personnel and Ministry of Defence civilians died serving during the Iraq War, while a further 457 were killed during deployment to Afghanistan.
Britons have flocked to social media to express outrage at the Royal Household’s decision to honour Mr Blair with a knighthood this weekend after his involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Journalist John Pilger wrote: “The contempt in which Britain’s elite holds the public has never been more eloquently expressed than in the decision to award Tony Blair the highest order of knighthood.
“One million Iraqis dead, three million dispossessed, a trail of blood to 7/7. Rise Sir Tony!”
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Adam Brookes, a public figure with 124,000 followers, tweeted: “Tony Blair is hated by so many, from the far left to the far right and so many in the middle.
“I really do laugh when politicians hold him up as some hero.”
Mr Blair, 68, was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, an honour bestowed upon all bar one of his predecessors.
He is the first and only person to date to lead the Labour Party to three consecutive general election victories, remaining in power for a decade from 1997 to 2007.
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Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said he felt the honour was “a fitting tribute” for a former Prime Minister, although he felt it was not a political decision.
“Whatever people might think, it is one of the toughest jobs in the world,” the Speaker said, “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.”
When he was asked if he believed all recent former Prime Ministers should now be knighted, he replied: “If you have been prime minister of this country, I do believe the country should recognise the service given. Absolutely.
“You finish in the office and when you’ve finished it is the respect that we give to those prime ministers.”
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