Tony Blair: Mother of dead soldier slams knighthood
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Sarah Adams rang into Jeremy Vine on 5 to tell the show that she felt “betrayed ” and “sickened” by the news of Tony Blair’s knighthood as her son, James Prosser, was killed in Helmand Province in September 2009. Ms Adams said it was an “insult” to families across the country who have lost family members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Host Jeremy Vine challenged her and said the danger was already there with one of Blair’s closest aides, John McTernan, saying the deaths should be blamed on Saddam Hussein.
Speaking on Jeremy Vine on 5, Mr Vine spoke with Ms Adams about Sir Tony’s knighthood but the mother was upset over the news.
She told the programme: “Betrayed, sickened, is all I can say, it’s another insult to all of those lives that have been lost in this country, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“All of the servicemen and women coming back with life-changing injuries they now have to live with because of the lies of this man.
“Andrew Pierce summed it up absolutely perfectly, if he had a semblance of conscience, he would decline it knowing the backlash towards him receiving it and the contempt for him.”
Mr Vine put to Ms Adams that the terrorists were in the region before Sir Tony took office and could not be blamed for the deaths.
She replied: “We also know that they overplayed all of the evidence of what Suddam Hussein had, that was clear in the Chilcott inquiry. So I disagree with that completely.”
Mr McTernan responded by saying all political leaders deeply regret soldier deaths and that Sir Tony was no different.
He added everyone in Europe had the same intelligence of what was going on in the Middle East but chose to act depending on what they felt was right.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is awarded solely at the monarch’s discretion whereas other knighthoods are often discussed on committees and presented to the Queen.
Only the monarch, the Prince of Wales and no more than 24 living members are allowed to be members.
Over the weekend, Sir Tony and Baroness Valarie Amos were given the award and joined Sir John Major and others who have the honour.
Sir Tony commented on his appointment: “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.”
However, nearly 800,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Sir Tony’s knighthood to be removed.
Signatures are quickly growing with Tuesday seeing half a million people sign the petition.
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The petition gathered widespread publicity after several high-profile critics have backed it.
Political commentator George Galloway said he will aim to get a million signatures for the petition in homage to the million-person march against the war in Iraq
The petition reads: “Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.
“We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed.”
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle came out to defend the decision and said it was right for all former Prime Ministers to be given the honour.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also defended the decision and told Good Morning Britain: “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.”
“I understand there are strong views on the Iraq war. There were back at the time and there still are, but that does not detract from the fact that Tony Blair was a very successful prime minister of this country and made a huge difference to the lives of millions of people in this country.”
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