Queen Elizabeth’s decision to bestow one of the highest honors on the Iraq War PM has sparked fierce backlash
Hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for the removal of knighthood from Tony Blair. The former UK prime minister “should be held accountable for war crimes” instead, it says.
More than 400,000 signatures were left under a Change.org petition urging the UK prime minister to ask the queen to rescind the order in less than a day after it was launched.
Angus Scott, the author of the petition, says the former prime minister “caused irreparable damage to the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society,” while he was in power between 1997 and 2007.
The petition specifically accuses Blair of “causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen” by dragging the UK into “various conflicts.”
“For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes,” it says.
While it’s customary for British monarchs to confer most senior knighthoods on former prime ministers, Buckingham Palace’s decision to not snub Blair caused massive outrage among Brits, citing Blair’s role in the 2003 invasion in Iraq and his support for the US-led campaign in Afghanistan.
In 2017, a third of Britons said Blair should be tried as a war criminal for “knowingly misleading” the public about the premise of the invasion of Iraq after an inquiry found that there was no intelligence to back up the claim that late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Blair received the Most Noble Order of the Garter (the highest order of knighthood) in the New Year Honours 2022 list. Responding to the announcement, Blair called the title “an immense honor,” while Buckingham Palace said it was “graciously pleased” to present it to Blair.
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