George Galloway, one of Tony Blair’s fiercest critics, attacked the Queen for giving the ex-Labour leader a knighthood and awarding him the Most Noble Order of the Garter – an honour awarded solely at the monarch’s discretion. Mr Galloway delivered a scathing rant against the Royal Family and said the decision from the Queen only added to a long list of scandals that have engulfed the institution before explaining why the UK did not need them. Mr Galloway also promised to get a popular petition, which has seen nearly 500,000 signatures, calling for Sir Tony’s knighthood to be scrapped to one million during a passionate monologue.
Speaking on his Mother of All Talkshows, Mr Galloway was furious at the news of the knighthood and said the move showed how the monarchy was out of date and out of touch.
He told his audience: “I’m beseeching you, Your Majesty, I beseech you, to turn back from this disastrous course of action.
“I beg you, I beg you to turn back from this disastrous course that will bring no good to anyone, least of all, you and your monarchy.
“Did you not see the feelings of the people in your Commonwealth? In Africa, in Australia, in Canada, in the Caribbean, did you not see how people felt about the terrible crime of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq?
“Do you not see us, Your Majesty? Do you not hear us, Your Majesty?
“I promise you, as long as God gives me breath, I will seek to gather a million signatures on that petition. And I ask all of those watching and listening today. Not just to sign it, but to bring me 10 other signatures too.”
Mr Galloway also accused the Queen of being out of touch and that she should remove the title to win back the trust of her subjects.
The political commentator and campaigner also addressed the Chilcot Inquiry which found there was “no imminent threat” to justify the invasion of Iraq and that it was fought on “flawed intelligence”.
Sir John Chilcot said he does not believe Tony Blair was “straight with the nation”.
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.
Baroness Valarie Amos was also given the award and will join Sir John Major and others.
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.”
Sir Lindsay told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Whatever people might think, it is one of the toughest jobs in the world and I think it is respectful and it is the right thing to do, whether it is to Tony Blair or to David Cameron. They should all be offered that knighthood when they finish as prime minister…
“I would say if you’ve been prime minister of this country, I do believe the country should recognise the service they’ve given.
“It is not about politics, it is about the position they have held in this country: It’s about the position and it’s the respect that we show to those people who’ve led this country.
“And I think it’s a fitting tribute to the job they’ve carried out.”