Pressure is growing on Boris Johnson to intervene over the decision to award Tony Blair a knighthood – as a petition demanding the honour be removed past 500,000 signatures.
The former Labour Prime Minister, the first and only person to date to lead the party to three consecutive general election victories, was the most controversial name in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
At 68 years old, Mr. Blair was elected Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest degree of knighthood given to anyone except one of his predecessors.
However, the decision has been met with furious backlash with anti-war campaigners branding it a ‘kick in the teeth’ to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and military mothers threatening to return Elizabeth Crosses, a form of recognition given to bereaved families, in disgust.
Over 500,000 have now signed petitions asking for Her Majesty’s revocation to Mr Johnson, even though Garter appointments are made as a gift from the Queen.
Angus Scott (the poll’s creator), stated that Sir Tony was not deserving of any public honour, especially one awarded by Her Majesty The Queen.
“We ask the Prime Minister for Her Majesty’s permission to remove this honor.”
MailOnline was informed Monday night by Nigel Farage, ex-leader of UKIP, that Sir Tony’s row for knighthood placed’more pressure on’ the PM. Farage has been subject to intense criticism over recent weeks’ Downing Street scandal and rebellions by Tory MPs in opposition to Plan B.
The honour will not be discussed by MPs, however, as the petition wasn’t created online.
Petitions signed by 10,000 people will receive a response by the Government under the parliamentary process. Those signed by over 100,000 people, however, are eligible for discussion in Parliament.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was the leader of the House of Commons and stated that, regardless of their number of signatures, petitions on Change.org such as the one posted by Mr Blair Friday will not be taken up for debate.
Blair was long criticised for his decision to send troops into Afghanistan, and Iraq. This led to a devastating report from Sir John Chilcot (2016) that found Blair had overplayed evidence regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons of destruction.
A total of 179 British Armed Forces personnel and Ministry of Defence civilians died serving during the Iraq campaign, while a further 457 were killed during deployment to Afghanistan.
The UK’s service personnel were forced to leave Afghanistan in August after serving there for 20 years. But the Taliban quickly seized control within days. Families of British soldiers expressed shock at the news, saying that they were feeling like their loved ones had died for their country.
Tony Blair, the former prime minister of Britain was seen leaving his house during an inquiry into Britain’s role in Iraq.
Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, talks to Major General Richard Shirreff CBE, second from left, as he visits British troops at Basra in southern Iraq in 2006.
On February 15, 2003, anti-war demonstrators were seen gathered in Hyde Park as part of a protest against the war in Iraq.
Scott explained his petition by writing: “Tony Blair did irreparable harm to the Constitution of the United Kingdom as well as to the fabric of society.”
“He personally caused the deaths of many innocent civilians and served in different conflicts.” He should be tried for war crimes.
Frankie London aged 53 was among the first people to sign the petition.
London from Southend, Essex stated: “A knighthood is for Tony Blair. But no knighthood remains for George Johnny Johnson the last Dambuster in 100 years. It’s a shame for our nation.
“A knighthood to war criminals, but not to war heroes.”
Deborah Warford added, as another signatory: “Tony Blair should face trial, not be knighted.” This honor shows just how corrupt and evil the system is.
Fergus Murray also signed the document. He said that “as long as people such as Blair are honoured, this entire system discredits us.”
MailOnline was told by Mr Farage that there had been a row with the Prime Minister, which many people felt resentful about.
He stated that it was a contributing factor, in addition to other issues the PM is currently facing such as sky-rocketing energy prices.
On Saturday, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, said Sir Tony’s knighthood was a ‘kick in the teeth for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan’.
LBC radio spoke to her, saying that it was “pretty amazing” considering the fact that Afghanistan collapsed this year. [was]Tony Blair’s war against terror was his first major conflict.
“8 million Afghans are on the verge of starvation. Nearly 20 years ago, Iraq is in an awful place.
“And I believe it’s an incense for the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as a kick for all those who protested against Iraq’s war and were proven wrong.
Ms German stated that while she accepts the award as a convention, it is not something she sees any reason to give.
John Smith was the son Harry Leslie Smith’s World War Two veteran, and an author. He said it would have felt more fitting to honour Gordon Brown.
One military mother, Carol Valentine, told the Mirror that Sir Tony’s knighthood is the ‘ultimate insult’, after her son Simon was killed while he cleared land mines in Afghanistan in 2009.
Hazel Hunt was thinking about sending the Elizabeth Cross her family received in protest of Richard Hunt’s death.
Caroline Whitaker was killed by an insubordinate Afghan officer in 2012. He shot Sergeant Gareth Thursby, her son.
Caroline Whitaker (a military mom who also lost her son Gareth to an Afghan policeman in 2012) said that she feels the establishment is’making fun’ of hers, and others’ deaths.
On Twitter, many made their feelings clear following the ennobling. Liam Young, a political commentator wrote that “The man should go to The Hague.” This is shameful.
Another said: ‘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. A trail of blood leading to 7/7: One million Iraqis killed and three million abandoned. Rise Sir Tony!’
Angus Scott started the Change.org petition asking for action by the PM regarding the knighthood.
All of Sir Tony’s predecessors, bar one, were appointed to the Order of the Garter shortly after he left office.
His appointment as the UK’s prime minister took 14 years.
There have been claims that his relationship with Queen Elizabeth during his time in office may have led to his “snub.”
The honour has been awarded to Sir Tony only once before. Edward Heath, who had been in office since 1974, was elected to the Order of Garter 18 years later.
Winston Churchill was knighted by Harold Wilson, and Clement Attlee received his knighthood as Maggie Thatcher waited around five years.
Hazel Hunt (middle), the mother to Richard Hunt (200th killed soldier in Afghanistan)
The decision to make Tony Blair a Sir was met with anger by many on social media, as the former Prime Minister was branded a ‘war criminal’
Sir Tony was long in the crosshairs for leading the UK into Iraq/Afghanistan, which resulted in the death of 179 British troops and many other civilians.
New Labour was led by Sir Tony, who won a clear victory in 1997. The party also won the following general elections. Tony then quit Westminster ten years later to make way for Gordon Brown to be Prime Minister.
A statement was made by him, saying: “It is an immense honor to be designated Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. And I am deeply thanks to Her Majesty the King.
“It was an honor to be the prime minister. I want to thank everyone who worked alongside me in politics and public service for their commitment and dedication to this country.
Sir Keir starmer, MP, the current Labour leader, said: “The last Labour government brought about enduring changes from the national minimum wages to the peace process for Northern Ireland.
“My congratulations Tony Blair on his recognition for his public services to this country.”
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons Speaker, also supported the knighthood.
It was respectful and right, he said. The Prime Minister’s role is one of the most difficult jobs in the country.
It was revealed by him on BBC Radio 4’s Today: “Despite what people think, it’s one the most challenging jobs in all of history. And I think it’s respectful and right to do it, regardless of whether Tony Blair or David Cameron is involved.
They should all receive that knighthood upon their retirement as prime ministers.
“I’d say that, if your country was prime minister, I believe it should be recognized for the great service they’ve rendered.”
“It’s not about politics. It is about their position in the country.
«And I believe it’s fitting tribute to their job.»
The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years. There was speculation that his relationship with the Queen during his ten-year tenure as prime minister may have led to him being unable to ennoble him. (He was pictured in 2005 with the Queen.
The streets of London were filled with protestors against the imminent war in Iraq.
Whitehall, London was packed by anti-war protesters during a March to Hyde Park against the war on Iraq. It took place February 2003.
Sir Tony faced years of criticism about the Iraq War. The culmination was the devastating report from Sir John Chilcot, which came out in 2016. The former prime minister exaggerated evidence regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons and neglected peaceful ways to enter the country.
Sir John came to devastating conclusions when he found that Blair had presented the case against war with a ‘certainty which was not justified’, based upon ‘flawed intelligence’ about Iraq’s supposed weapons-of mass destruction (WMD).
Blair said then He would “take the same decision” to invade Iraq again if presented with the same intelligence that he used in his defiant defense after being attacked by the Chilcot Report.
He gave a fiery performance in his response to the much-anticipated report. While he apologised for the tragic consequences of the Iraq War and tried to shift responsibility by claiming that the intelligence was not his.
In a remarkable performance of self-defence at a special press conference that lasted for nearly two hours, the visibly humbled former prime minister described the decision to take military action to remove Hussein in 2003 as the ‘hardest, most momentous, most agonising’ of his 10 years in office.
He appeared close to tears at times during his speech in Whitehall’s Admiralty House.
His voice crackled as he responded to the Iraq War Report’s publication.
Later, he added: “The decisions that I made have been with me for thirteen years and will continue to do so throughout my life.” “There won’t be a single day in my life that I don’t relive or rethink the events of the past.”
However, he said that the Iraq Inquiry showed the truth and the Parliamentary were not misled.
And in the most extraordinary moment of his lengthy speech, Mr Blair insisted: ‘If I was back in the same place, with the same information I would take the same decision because obviously that was the decision I believe was right.
“All that I am saying is because some intelligence was wrong and the planning was not done correctly, so I must accept these criticisms. I take responsibility.
In another criticism on social media, John Smith – the son of Second World War veteran and writer Harry Leslie Smith – said the decision suggested it was ‘okay’ to kill people in their ‘hundreds of thousands.’
It is performed by the Queen. The honour has been awarded to past prime ministers with Sir John Major (the predecessor of Sir Tony) being the last recipient.
Sir Tony is a Labour ex-leader who said, “It’s an immense honor to be named Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. I am deeply thankful to Her Majesty the King.
“It was a privilege to serve in the role of prime minister. And I’d like to express my gratitude to all who contributed to politics and public services, and for all their hard work and support for our country.
New Labour was led by Sir Tony to victory in 1997. New Labour won the next two general elections. Then, Tony quit Westminster ten years later.
After her death, Diana, Princess Of Wales aged 68, was famously referred to by the public as “people’s princess”. She also served as leader of the UK in the Allied military invasions against Iraq and Afghanistan.
After leaving politics, the former barrister was made a Middle East ambassador and established his non-profit organization, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Every year, Royal Knights of the Order of the Garter and Ladies of the Order of the Garter meet at St George’s Chapel in Windsor to participate in a colorful procession and ceremony.
As a crowd watches, the State Apartments residents walk the State Apartments’ hillside chapel in their blue velvet mantles and red velvet hoods. They also wear white ostrich plumes.
Three new positions were announced by the palace for Sir Tony, who left Downing Street 14 years ago.
Appointments to Garter are in Queen’s Gift and can be made without prime ministerial approval. They are generally announced on St George’s Day April 23rd, but the monarch has decided to announce it during the New Year’s Honours.
They will be with you for the rest of your life, unless they are abused by a Lady Companion or Knight.
Established in 1348, Edward III established the Garter. The sovereign awards the Garter for distinguished public service and accomplishment.
According to legend, it was inspired by an event at a ball held in northern France attended by Joan, Countess, and the King of Salisbury.
It is thought that the countess dropped her garter, which caused laughter and embarrassment.
However, the chivalrous King took it and put it on his leg. He then said the following: “Honi soit qui Mal y penser” – “Shame on anyone who thinks such evil.” This is now the motto of the Order.
An emblem of the Order is a blue ribbon, or garter, worn below the left knee by men and on the left arm by women.
The order now has 21 companions that are not royal, out of a maximum number of 24.
Despite his many mistakes, we cannot ignore his achievements: STEPHEN DAISLEY argues for Tony Blair’s knighthood
Stephen Daisley, The Daily Mail
It was inevitable that this day would come. Convention dictates that all prime ministers eventually join the Order of the Garter – even the ones, like James Callaghan, that nobody actually voted for.
Let me make it clear: I don’t support the Labour Party. I am a political centerist, who thinks ministers should allow us to keep most of our money intact and help the state sail along.
Tony Blair’s conduct is not right for me. His toe-curling and money-grubbing with dodgy dictators following his departure from office, his refusal to accept Brexit results.
There is much to be proud of, despite this. He was the Labour leader who understood the concerns of Middle Britain, instead of dismissing them – as the Left so often does – with a sneer.
Because of his open-mindedness and plurality, he was able to convince a conservative nation that liberal policies were possible.
His open-minded and pluralistic attitude allowed him to promote liberal policies in an essentially conservative country.
The wealth redistributed by Old Labour was through infuriating taxation, particularly on the middle class. New Labour emphasized the importance of growing the economy. This business-friendly party, New Labour, understood that prosperity increased revenues.
Blair, instead of mocking aspirationalism, celebrated it. Blair promised to fight crime and the causes thereof. Police numbers rose 12 per cent during his premiership.
However, he recognized the need to tackle poverty and despair in order for crime to fall.
Blair was a leader in the area of foreign policy. Many young people don’t understand the horrors of Irish republican terror that hung over London before the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
I believe that Britain overthrew Saddam Hussein in a good decision. Friendships are rarely won by true leadership
Blair, who saw Islamism as a threat to liberal democracy after 9/11, took steps against domestic extremists, and he also defended the British values, which included freedom, tolerance, and the rule law, and reaffirmed them abroad.
Many people disagree with him about Iraq. Although I appreciate their views, I still believe Britain did what was best in overthrowing Saddam Hussein. True leadership is rarely a friend.
He has also been an advocate for reason in the wake of the recent pandemic. He advocated mass-testing, and that the unvaccinated be kept out of lockdown. Many lives – and businesses – might have been saved had ministers listened.
Tony Blair made Britain a more open, tolerant and compassionate country. He also stood up to help those in need overseas. He is a stateman’s legacy, despite his faults and errors. He deserves to be acknowledged for his accomplishments.
This is an insult to my son Tony Blair who was killed for his Iraq folly. JOHN MILLER: Father of a former prime minister, John Miller says that he does not merit knighthood
John Miller, Daily Mail
My wife and I have suffered tremendous pain from Tony Blair’s knighthood. Since Simon was killed in Iraq, June 24, 2003, we have been fighting to get justice.
It is an insult for the 179 British troops who were killed as a consequence of Blair’s decision not to bring the country into the war in Iraq.
My son, Caporal Simon Miller was a Royal Military Policeman.
After being attacked by insurgents at Majar al-Kabir station, in southern Iraq, he was just 21 years old. He died along with five of his 156 Provost Company comrades.
Si, his companions and others were seriously underequipped with no ammunition, flares or morphine, and no radios. They were utterly defeated when they fell under fire.
Blair must have known when he was elected in 1997 that the radios used by our military were faulty.
Blair failed to do anything about it and sent British soldiers into exile. This is nothing less than criminal
He didn’t do anything about it and sent British soldiers into exile. This is the height of criminality.
The royal court will summon him and he will be knighted. The only court that he should be granted is one at an international level: the tribunal in a case involving war crimes.
As prime minister, his domestic record is not much better.
I found it disgusting to see him act as an older statesman in the Brexit campaign.
He wasn’t elected anymore by that point, but he made himself Project Fear’s ringleader and issued dire warnings. None of these came to pass.
He tried to persuade the country to stay in the EU with his arrogance.
He tried to undermine the popular will for years after the vote. His behavior as Prime Minister was often a disgraceful one: He appointed his friends, the ‘Tony Cronies,’ to high-ranking positions.
His behavior as prime minister was not to be taken lightly: He appointed his friends, “Tony’s Crone”, to the top jobs
Our recession was the most severe in nearly 100 years due to his financial recklessness.
His approach to devolution proved disastrous. While his approach to devolution did not end the evil of nationalism it will most likely cause the fall of the United Kingdom and the separation of Scotland from Northern Ireland.
His real legacy is the lives he wasted with our troops.
Blair wouldn’t sacrifice any of his children or grandchildren in the wars he fought. Instead, he sends others’ children to their deaths.
A scroll that the Queen signed in my son’s room, thanks Si for his sacrifices for our country, is found in his bedroom.
Today, that is considered a derogatory comment on my son’s memory as well as on all the people who sacrificed their lives. Now the scroll will go in a drawer at the bottom. I was once proud of it – but no longer.