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700,000 people sign petition calling for Blair to be stripped of his knighthood

Protesters hold up a banner reading 'Blair must face war crimes trial' outside the London home of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 6, 2016 in London, England [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]
Protesters hold up a banner reading 'Blair must face war crimes trial' outside the London home of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 6, 2016 in London, England [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]

A petition calling for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to be stripped of his knighthood has been signed by almost 700,000 people.

If the goal of one million signatures is hit, it will become one of the top signed petitions on the change.org website.

"[Tony Blair] was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts," wrote Angus Scott, who started the petition after the Queen's New Year's Honours list was announced on 31 December.

"For this alone, he should be held accountable for war crimes."

The decision to knight the former Labour prime minister has caused a tsunami of criticism focused on his 2003 decision to invade Iraq based on the country's possession of weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

OPINION: Blair's knighthood is a royal act of treachery against his victims in Iraq and Afghanistan

More than 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed. Then foreign secretary Robin Cook resigned from the cabinet in protest over Blair's decision to go to war without a United Nations resolution.

Demonstrators talk on a podium outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on July 6, 2016 in London, England [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]

Demonstrators talk on a podium outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on July 6, 2016 in London, England [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]

Then UN Secretary-General, the late Kofi Anan, said in 2004 that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal because it was not sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

The Mirror has reported that the families of soldiers killed during the Iraq war have said they will give back medals awarded to their loved ones in protest.

The 2016 Chilcot report, a public inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war, found that it was "unnecessary" and that Blair's government joined the US-led invasion before all peaceful options had been exhausted.

Current Labour leader Keir Starmer defended Blair's knighthood on the grounds that he had been a "very successful prime minister" and "made a huge difference to the lives of millions of people in this country."

Scott, who started the petition, said the decision was appalling. "The fact that the establishment is awarding Tony Blair sends a signal that this behaviour is rewarded."

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Asia & AmericasEurope & RussiaIraqMiddle EastNewsUKUS
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