David Cameron mocks Tony Blair for his Save the Children 'Global Legacy' award

The dispute over the prize has entered the House of Commons, where Conservative backbencher Andrew Turner seized his chance at PMQs

Jenn Selby
Thursday 27 November 2014 17:58 GMT

It was only a matter of time before our current Conservative Prime Minister capitalised on an embarrassing backlash facing former Labour leader Tony Blair.

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by almost 200 members of staff, they branded the award “morally reprehensible” and a “betrayal” and called for it to be withdrawn.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.

“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.

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