Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to be granted the most senior knighthood from Queen Elizabeth despite his infamous involvement in alleged war crimes during the US-led invasion of Iraq.
“It is an immense honor to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen,” said Blair, a former Labor Party leader, in reaction to the appointment announced by Buckingham Palace on Friday.
The appointment was unveiled as Britons widely believe that Blair should be imprisoned rather than being crowned with knighthood for his well-established militaristic role in the course of the brutal war on Iraq that started in 2003.
While anti-war activists blame the former premier for war crimes during the US-led invasion of Iraq and persistently call for his criminal trial by an international tribunal, British environmentalist George Aylett has said it is a joke to put a war criminal on the New Year's Honors list.
Moreover, former MP George Galloway described Blair as a mass-murderer, liar and charlatan who is now taking “the biscuit.”
London-based GB News anchor Tonia Buxton has also expressed her disgust to see the knighthood of a man that has caused the murder of so many people.
Blair, meanwhile, welcomed the celebratory title by saying, “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.”
The royal appointment has regularly been bestowed upon past British prime ministers, with John Major – Blair’s direct predecessor – the last to receive the title of “Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter,” referred to as the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.
The former barrister then became a Middle East envoy -- with close ties with numerous despotic rulers across the Arab world -- and set up his own non-profit organization, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, after leaving politics.
Blair is one of three new appointments announced by the palace. Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and made without prime ministerial advice. They are for life unless a Knight or Lady Companion offends against certain “points of reproach,” according to local press reports.
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