The former Prime Minister was recently appointed as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry. The appointments to this order do not have to be approved by the Prime Minister or Parliament.
However, Her Majesty’s decision to bestow the honour has sparked a backlash, after hundreds of thousands of people signed an online petition calling for the removal of Tony Blair’s knighthood.
The petition instead says that he “should be held accountable for war crimes”.
The Change.org petition which urges the UK Prime Minister to ask the Queen to rescind the order was launched two days ago.
Since then it has been backed by over 350,000 people.
Angus Scott, the author of the petition, claims Sir Tony “caused irreparable damage to the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society,” while he was serving as the Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007.
The petition also accuses Blair of “causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen” by dragging the UK into “various conflicts.”
It adds: “For this alone, he should be held accountable for war crimes.”
Angus Scott also described Sir Tony as “the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.”
The honour from the Queen has also been given to other former occupants of Number 10, including Sir John Major, who was PM from 1990 to 1997.
Despite it being customary to award senior knighthoods to former prime ministers, the Queen’s decision to not snub Blair has caused a particular outrage among the public.
Many cited the former PM’s role in the 2003 invasion in Iraq and his support for the US-led campaign in Afghanistan as their reasoning for backing the petition.
Others said he had “caused the deaths of so many”, while some wrote that there were “far more deserving people” to receive the knighthood.
In addition, some cited the reform of the NHS which took place under his leadership as their reason for him being unsuitable for a knighthood.
Tony Blair was knighted in the New Year Honours 2022 list and is now able to use the title ‘Sir’.
Responding to the announcement, Sir Tony said it was an “immense honour”.
He added: “It was a great privilege to serve as prime minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country.”
While Buckingham Palace said it was “graciously pleased” to present it to the former PM.
Sir Tony received his honour alongside Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer (CMO), and his deputy Jonathan Van-Tam, who also both received knighthoods,
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Team GB’s Olympic heroes were also recognised, as was the US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu and hundreds of members of the public were also recognised for their extraordinary contributions.