Many were outraged when Blair was honoured with the Global Legacy award from Save The Children despite the fact he was responsible for catapulting Britain into the 2003 Iraq war with the US ̶ a conflict that saw the deaths of hundreds of civilian children.
In an internal letter signed by almost 200 members of staff, they branded the award “morally reprehensible” and a “betrayal” and called for it to be withdrawn.
They wrote that they felt it also endangered the charity’s “credibility globally” and demanded an investigation into their decision-making process.
The dispute has since flown into the House of Commons, where Conservative backbencher Andrew Turner seized his chance to force debate over the philanthropic affair.
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
1/11 The Tony Blair 'selfie'.. A journalist takes a picture of Kennard Phillips 'Photo Op', depicting Prime Minister Tony Blair taking a 'selfie' in front of an explosion in Iraq, during a press viewing of the exhibition Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War
2/11 Protesters pictured outside the QEII Conference centre in London in 2011 as former British PM Tony Blair give his evidence in the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry
3/11 David Lawley-Wakelin, who disrupted Tony Blair’s testimony at the Leveson Inquiry by bursting into the court
4/11 Blair giving evidence
5/11 Tony Blair visiting troops in Iraq in 2007
6/11 Blair meeting with troops in Basra, Iraq in 2003
7/11 Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks to British soldiers at Divisional Headquaters in Basra, May 2007
8/11 British Prime Minister Tony Blair eats dinner with British troops in Basra, Iraq, 21 December, 2004
9/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad during his official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria. The former Prime Minister made clear he was very much in favour of military intervention last summer.
10/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad and wife Asma during their official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria
11/11 Former Prime Minister Tony Blair's signature adorns a program he signed for an Iraq veteran during a reception at the Guildhall in London following the service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral honouring UK military and civilian personnel who served in Iraq
“Should Tony Blair get a global legacy award from Save The Children for taking us to war unnecessarily in Iraq?” he asked.
Cameron said he thought it was “remarkable” that the accolade was awarded to Blair by a former staff member of Labour rival Gordon Brown.
“Obviously the person who gave the award knows about peacemaking and peacekeeping,” Cameron added.
The award also sparked speculation over the charity’s apparent independence, in light of its links to the former British Prime Minister.
Justin Forsyth, the UK chief executive of STC, used to be a special advisor to Blair, while Jonathan Powell, who is also on the STC board, was his former chief of staff.
Fergus Drake, STC’s director of global programmes, advised president Paul Kagame as part of the consultancy team in Blair’s Rwandan office.
Meanwhile, director of policy and advocacy Brendan Cox was a special adviser to Brown.
Richard Warburton, director of media for STC, told the Guardian: “Save the Children has, and always will be, an impartial organisation that is above party politics.
“The background of our staff and their previous employment does not affect the organisation’s impartiality. We have strong links across the political spectrum.”
Asked if Sir Alan Parker, the chairman of STC UK and PR company Brunswick, a Blair associate, had put the former PM forward for the prize, he confirmed he was “not part of the process”.
Blair was among the guests at Parker’s wedding in 2008.Reuse content