A PETITION to have Tony Blair stripped of his knighthood is rapidly gathering support.

The former Labour prime minister was given the highest ranking of knighthood in the New Year's honours list by the Queen.

The announcement has seen fierce backlash, with Green MSP Ross Greer saying Blair “deserves a trial at the Hague rather than a knighthood”.

It has also led to a petition on change.org to have the honour taken from the former prime minister.

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The text of the petition states: “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation's society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.

“Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.”

By Saturday afternoon, more than 12,000 people had put their names on the petition. By Sunday morning, more than 10 times that number had pledged their support, with the petition well on track to reach its 150,000 target.

It is rare for a person to be stripped of any honours, but it is not unheard of. In 2012, former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin had his knighthood removed after his mismanagement of the bank saw it need a £45 billion taxpayers bailout.

The process to remove an honour begins when someone contacts the Cabinet Office outlining their complaint. That is then passed on to the “Forfeiture Committee”, which is chaired by the permanent Treasury secretary Sir Tom Scholar, has a majority of independent members, and meets as required.

The committee then considers whether the holder of an honour “has brought the honours system into disrepute”, according to the UK Government website.

Examples of transgressions which could see honours revoke include, but are not limited to, if an individual:

  • has been found guilty by the courts of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than three months
  • has been censured or struck off by the relevant regulatory authority or professional body, for actions or failures to act, especially which are directly relevant to the granting of the honour
  • has been found guilty by the courts of a criminal offence covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales), Sexual Offences Order 2008 (Northern Ireland) or Sexual Offences Act 2009 (Scotland)
  • has been found to have committed a sexual act which is listed in the acts above following a “trial of the facts”

The committee makes its recommendation to the Prime Minister, who passes them on to the Queen. She will then act to remove the honour.

The Cabinet Office has been asked if any such complaints have yet been put in to be considered by the Forfeiture Committee.

Tony Blair remains unpopular with the British public. YouGov’s tracker of fame and popularity records that while 97% of people have heard of him, only 22% have a positive opinion. A majority (57%) have a negative opinion of the former Labour leader.