“He deserves the honour”: Keir Starmer welcomes knighthood for Tony Blair

Sienna Rodgers

Keir Starmer has welcomed the knighthood of former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying he “deserves the honour” because his “many achievements” in government “vastly improved our country”.

Asked about the news on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, the Labour leader said: “I think Tony Blair deserves the honour. He won three elections, he was a very successful Prime Minister.

“I haven’t got time this morning to list all his many achievements, which I think vastly improved our country, whether that’s minimum wage, Sure Start for young families. But the one I would pick out in particular is the work he did in Northern Ireland and the peace process and the huge change that has made.

“I worked myself in Northern Ireland for six years with the police service over there. I saw myself the profound impact it had on peace, on both communities in Northern Ireland.

“So I don’t think it’s thorny at all. I think he deserves the honour. Obviously I respect the fact that people have different views.”

A petition calling for Blair to be stripped of his knighthood has been signed by more than 540,000 people since it started on January 1st. It declares that Blair is “the least deserving person of any public honour” and “should be held accountable for war crimes”.

The former Labour leader who was Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 said of becoming Sir Tony: “It is an immense honour to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.

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