The decision to make Tony Blair a Sir was met with anger by many on social media, as the former Prime Minister was branded a ‘war criminal’.
But it was announced last night that he had been appointed to the Order of the Garter as a Knight Companion.
All but one of the prime ministers before him were appointed a few years after leaving office. But Sir Tony waited over 14 years.
It had been suggested that the Queen‘s strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the ‘snub’.
On Twitter today, many made their feelings clear following the ennobling.
Political commentator Liam Young wrote: ‘The man should be in the dock of The Hague. What a shameful day.’
John Smith – the son of Second World War veteran and writer Harry Leslie Smith – said the decision suggested ‘it’s okay to kill brown people in their hundreds of thousands.’
Former Labour MP George Galloway added: ‘Arise Sir Tony Blair, the mass-murdering War Criminal, liar and mountebank. It literally takes the biscuit.’
Many others demanded an overhaul of the honours system, with one user describing it as the ‘favour for a friend’ list.
Sir Tony has long faced a backlash over his decision to lead the UK into Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost the lives of 179 British personnel as well as many more civilians
Sir Tony, who held the keys to Number 10 between 1997 and 2007, is appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.
The appointment, which is made by the Queen, has regularly been bestowed upon past prime ministers, with Sir John Major, Sir Tony’s predecessor, the last to receive the honour.
Sir Tony, a former Labour leader, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory in 1997, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister.
The 68-year-old famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the ‘people’s princess’ after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former barrister became a Middle East envoy and set up his own non-for-profit group, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, after leaving politics.
Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.
Watched by crowds of onlookers, they walk down the hill to the chapel from the State Apartments, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats and white ostrich plumes.
Sir Tony, who left Downing Street more than 14 years ago, is one of three new appointments announced by the palace.
The decision to ennoble the former prime minister – or Sir Tony, as he will now be known – has been much debated in recent years. It had been suggested that the Queen’s strained relationship with him during his ten years in power may have contributed to the ‘snub’. (He is pictured with the Queen in 2005)
Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and made without prime ministerial advice, and are usually announced on St George’s Day, April 23, but the monarch can do so at any time, and has chosen to coincide with the New Year’s Honours.
They are for life unless a Knight or Lady Companion offends against certain ‘points of reproach’.
Founded in 1348 by Edward III, the Garter is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement.
It is said to have been inspired by events at a ball in northern France, attended by the king and Joan, Countess of Salisbury.
The countess is believed to have dropped her garter, causing laughter and some embarrassment.
The chivalrous king, however, picked it up and wore it on his own leg, uttering the phrase ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ – ‘Shame on him who thinks this evil’ – now the Order’s motto.
The Order’s emblem is a blue ribbon or garter worn by men below the left knee and by women on the left arm.
There are now 21 non-royal companions in the order out of a maximum of 24.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail