Welsh Labour MP Chris Bryant defends Tony Blair’s knighthood
A Welsh Labour MP has defended the decision to award Tony Blair a knighthood.
Chris Bryant leaped to the defence of the former British Prime Minister after the move to give him the gong came in for heavy criticism.
It was announced in the New Year’s Eve honours list that Blair will be made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter. Appointments to the order of chivalry are made at the Queen’s sole discretion.
Almost a million people have signed a petition which calls for it to be rescinded by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It says that Blaire “caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society” and points to his role in “various conflicts”.
The petition’s author, Angus Scott, clashed with Bryant about the knighthood on BBC Politics Live.
Bryant argued that the Order of the Garter honour is routinely given to former prime ministers.
“Politics is a rough game and no politician is perfect, as it happens I voted for the Iraq war. I certainly voted for devolution,” he said.
He added: “I’m a gay man – it was thanks to Tony Blair’s legislation that I was able to enter a civil partnership.”
He credited Blair with “radically transforming Britain” on issues such as housing and the NHS.
Scott said: “There is a balance of the scales,” adding “and on the one side, you have his good deeds – the gay thing, et cetera.”
“The gay thing?” Bryant replied. “The gay thing? Is that how you describe it? Really?”
Scott said: “I beg your pardon… I forget the legal terms.”
Bryant accused Scott of “betraying” himself.
Scott replied that he is a “complete supporter of that”.