Families of troops killed in Iraq left fuming as Tony Blair knighthood petition soars
Tony Blair: Radio caller slams ‘unacceptable’ knighthood
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Tony Blair, 68, was given a knighthood when the New Year’s Honours were awarded. Mr Blair, who served as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, became a member of the Order of the Garter, which is England’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry.
But there has since been pressure on the ex-Labour leader to have the title removed.
A group of military parents are even considering holding a protest in London to return their Elizabeth Crosses.
The Elizabeth Cross, launched in 2009, is granted to the next of kin of Armed Forces personnel killed on operations or as a result of terrorism as a mark of national recognition for their loss.
The families, including 61-year-old Mark Thompson, were left “fuming” when they found out Mr Blair had been knighted after more than 450 British troops died in Iraq.
Mr Thompson, who lost his son Kevin aged 21 after he was killed by an IED in Iraq in 2007, told the Mail: “If Tony Blair receives a knighthood, I will return my son’s medal.”
“I have spoken to more than ten families who are all prepared to hand their medals back.
“I think there are hundreds out there who will join us.
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“They all feel the same way – they are all fuming.
“It is all so wrong.”
Mr Thompson added: “We are considering meeting up, starting a petition and going to Downing Street and talking to Boris Johnson to tell him how we feel about all this.
“I will hand my medal to a guard at Windsor Castle if I have to.
“It is heartbreaking, it really is heartbreaking.”
John Miller, 70, also suggested he would join protesters.
Mr Miller, who lost his Corporal son Simon aged 21 when six Royal Military Policeman were beaten and shot to death in 2003, said: “We will join them if they want to make a statement.
“The medal doesn’t mean anything to me any more, so if others want to hand them back I will go with them.
“I have put the medal in my bottom drawer, I don’t look at it.
“When the Queen gave Tony Blair his knighthood I took down a scroll from her thanking Simon for his service.”
“I used to be proud of it but now it means absolutely nothing.
“That was a kick in the teeth, when I heard she had given him a knighthood.”
Mr Blair controversially led the UK into conflict in Iraq, despite a million protesters taking to the streets to demonstrate against the war.
A petition, uploaded to website change.org, received over 750,000 signatures calling on Boris Johnson, 57, to petition the Queen, 95, to remove Blair’s knighthood.
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The creator of the petition attached a caption which read: “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.
“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.”
But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, 59, said Sir Tony Blair had “earned” a knighthood.
Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Kyle, 51, also expressed his support for Blair’s knighthood.
“I’m happy about the knighthood,” he said.
“I’m talking to you as a gay man.
“Almost all the freedoms I enjoy as such were granted by the Blair Government.”
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