Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Don’t disrespect the Queen over Tony Blair knighthood, says Ed Davey

The Lib Dem leader says critics of the knighthood are ‘being disrespectful to Her Majesty’.

Sam Blewett
Wednesday 05 January 2022 14:09 GMT
Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA)
Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Critics calling for former prime minister Sir Tony Blair’s knighthood to be removed are being “disrespectful” to the Queen, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has suggested.

Accusing the former Labour leader of “war crimes” in Iraq a petition demanding the honour be rescinded has passed 700,000 signatures.

But Sir Ed defended the Queen’s right to appoint Sir Tony to the Order of the Garter, which is the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

The former energy secretary, who was knighted in 2016 for political and public service, told the PA news agency: “If the Queen wants to knight a politician or someone out of politics in any walk of life, I think we should respect Her Majesty

“And I’m rather worried that people are being disrespectful to Her Majesty.”

The knighthood has provoked debate about the honours system, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying Boris Johnson has not “earned the right” of a knighthood after leaving office.

Demonstrators protest in London as Tony Blair was due to give evidence at the Iraq war inquiry (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Archive)

But Sir Keir insisted his predecessor at the top of the Labour Party had earned his knighthood, having argued he “made Britain a better country”.

Sir Tony’s actions surrounding the Iraq war were also coming under renewed scrutiny.

His former defence secretary Geoff Hoon wrote in his recent memoir that his office was ordered by Downing Street to burn a secret memo saying the 2003 Iraq invasion could be illegal, according to the Daily Mail.

The Change.org online petition calling for the knighthood to be removed, accusing the former prime minister of being “personally responsible” for countless deaths in wars, surpassed 713,000 signatures.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in