Tony Blair knighthood ‘a kick in the teeth for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan’

Sir Tony, 68, was given the knighthood 14 years after leaving Downing Street, after claims that the delay was blocking other former prime ministers from being honoured. He was in office between 1997 and 2007, leading the UK during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ms German said she understood the award was “convention” but added: “It’s 14 years on since he stopped being prime minister, so I don’t really see the justification for it at any time. It seems to me this is just him trying, yet again, to rehabilitate himself.”

John Smith, the son of Harry Leslie Smith, the Second World War veteran and author, said giving the honour to Gordon Brown would have been “more appropriate”.

A petition calling for Sir Tony’s honour to be rescinded had gained more than 14,000 signatures as of Saturday night. “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society,” the petition alleges.

But others praised Sir Tony for his service to the country. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said: “The last Labour government delivered enduring change from the national minimum wage to the peace process in Northern Ireland. My congratulations to Tony Blair on this recognition for his public service to our country.”

Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said Sir Tony had “transformed the UK for the better, won three outstanding victories for the party and [was] easily the best PM of my lifetime”.

In a statement, Sir Tony said: “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.”

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