1M sign petition asking Tony Blair's knighthood rescinded
More than one million people have signed an online petition asking that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s newly announced knighthood be rescinded, Anadolu Agency reports.
The petition was created by Angus Scott at change.org as soon as the New Year Honours were announced on Dec. 31.
Scott accused Blair of causing “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,” Scott added.
Describing Blair as “the least deserving person of any public honour,” he asked Queen Elizabeth II to have the honor removed.
The New Year Honours are announced every Dec. 31, after which royal knights and ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St. George's Chapel in Windsor for a special ceremony.
The Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III, is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement.
Blair’s name was announced as an appointee to the Order of the Garter as a knight companion, 14 years after he left Downing Street as prime minister.
He is often branded an architect of the 2003 Iraq War, which started in large part over claims of the existence of WMD in the country, which were never found.
Critics have accused Blair of joining then-US President George W. Bush and sending British troops with US forces to invade Iraq, an action causing the deaths of more than 200,000 Iraqi civilians.
His government’s decision to join the war had also faced a backlash and there were protests due to the lack of a UN Security Council resolution on military action against Iraq.
An inquiry by Sir John Chilcot in 2016 said the Blair government had failed to exhaust all peaceful options before joining the coalition to invade Iraq.
“The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the Chilcot report said, confirming the lack of discovery of WMDs.
More than 250,000 people, including combatants but mostly civilians, are thought to have been killed in Iraq’s upheaval since 2003.