Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has dismissed criticism of Sir Tony Blair’s knighthood, insisting the former prime minister deserves the honour. He argued that Blair was “very successful” as PM.
In 2003, former lawyer Starmer wrote an opinion piece arguing that the invasion of Iraq would be “unlawful”.
Sirs of a feather
More than half a million people have signed a petition calling for Blair’s appointment by the Queen to the Order of the Garter – the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry – to be rescinded over his domestic record and the Iraq War. Starmer insisted the honour is not a “thorny” issue and that Blair had been a “very successful prime minister”.
Over 500,000 people have signed a petition to strip former Prime Minister Tony Blair of his knighthood.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer says he thinks 'Tony Blair deserves the honour', particularly for 'his work in Northern Ireland.' pic.twitter.com/bpGbxoEfOT
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 4, 2022
A petition calling for Blair to be stripped of the honour had been signed by more than 544,000 people by the morning of 4 January. Claiming to “respect” the views of those signing the petition while simultaneously dismissing them, Starmer argued on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:
I don’t think it’s thorny at all; I think he deserves the honour. Obviously I respect the fact that people have different views.
I understand there are strong views on the Iraq War. There were back at the time and there still are, but that does not detract from the fact that Tony Blair was a very successful prime minister of this country and made a huge difference to the lives of millions of people in this country.
During another policy-free reboot of his vision for the UK on 4 January, Starmer claimed that Blair made “made Britain a better country”. He did not comment on whether Blair made Iraq or Afghanistan ‘better countries’:
“Attlee, Wilson and Blair made Britain a better country, we must be the people who write the fourth chapter”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 4, 2022
The Breakthrough Party summed up Starmer’s speech:
A summary of Starmer's speech 👇
– Repeating the words respect, prosperity & security 2589303 times
– No new policies
– Two big flags
– Tony Blair deserves his knighthood
– Supports the govt on Covid measures
– Wants to continue the war on drugs
— Breakthrough Party 🟠🌤️ (@BThroughParty) January 4, 2022
Starmer’s intervention has been slammed online:
In 2003, @Keir_Starmer wrote an article essentially concluding Tony Blair could be guilty of war crimes. Today, Starmer states Blair "deserves" his potentially upcoming knighthood.
Two cheeks of the same racist, corrupt, establishment arse, in my opinion.https://t.co/qhCQv2WL41
— ʀᴇᴅ ᴄᴏʟʟᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ✊🏼 (@RedCollectiveUK) January 4, 2022
Starmer thinks people have "strong views on the Iraq war"
Hundreds of thousands of people have no opinion about Blair's war crimes. They are dead.
— Jon Harding (@_i0n) January 4, 2022
“The least deserving person”
The petition to strip Blair of his knighthood is approaching 600,000 signatories at the time of writing. It reads:
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 servicement 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
Meanwhile, Blair’s knighthood has exposed everything’s that wrong about Britain:
Blair shut down an investigation into corrupt £43bn arms deals between BAE Systems & Saudi which were alleged to incl £6bn worth of bribes.
Today Blair has been honoured by a Royal Family which serves BAE, and the PM's ethics advisor Lord Geidt is a former employee of BAE.
— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) January 1, 2022
Of the 428 votes where Jeremy Corbyn rebelled against the Blair Government, the Tories were supporting Blair an astonishing 421 times- including the vote for the illegal war against Iraq.
No wonder Thatcher called Blair her “greatest achievement”.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) January 3, 2022
Tony Blair being awarded a knighthood while Julian Assange suffers a stroke in prison tells you everything you need to know about Britain.
— John McEvoy (@jmcevoy_2) January 1, 2022
Featured image via Pete Birkinshaw – Wikimedia
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