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Iraq War hero 'astonished' that 'hypocrite' Tony Blair doesn't turn down knighthood

5 January 2022, 10:24 | Updated: 5 January 2022, 11:10

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Colonel Tim Collins has hit out at former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his "hypocrisy" in accepting a knighthood from the Queen.

The 61-year-old retired British Army Colonel, originally from east Belfast, is best known for his role in the 2003 Iraq War and his inspirational eve-of-battle speech.

The comments come amid national discussion over the former Prime Minister's knighthood.

More than six hundred thousand people have signed a petition calling for Sir Tony's appointment by the Queen to the Order of the Garter - the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry - to be rescinded over his domestic record and the Iraq War.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari the former army officer said he was not surprised Mr Blair had been honoured, adding it had been a "long time coming."

Read more: Blair’s defence sec Geoff Hoon 'was told to burn Iraq memo' as knighthood row continues

"I think we have to remember the knighthood he's been given is the Queen's personal gift, it's not from the government."

Col Collins said he felt during his time in office, Mr Blair had attempted to "supplant the Queen," recalling during the Millennium celebrations he "stepped in front of the Queen, they want to push the monarchy to one side."

"I'm astonished at the hypocrisy that he doesn't turn it down, because it was a gift from the Queen," the former officer told Nick Ferrari.

Read more: Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins' Eve-of-Battle Speech

The Iraq War hero said if Sir Tony "has any decency," then he would turn the award down.

A Change.Org online petition calling for Sir Tony to be stripped of the honour had been signed by more than 698,000 people by Wednesday morning.

Nick asked Col Collins if he believed Sir Tony was a "founding father" of the Northern Ireland peace process, which could have also been a contributing factor towards the controversial award.

"The Republican movement didn't take Tony Blair particularly seriously," Col Collins said, adding they thought he was a "soft touch."

The former army officer said the peace agreement was delivered by John Major branding Sir Tony's contribution "the buttons and bows at the end."

He told Nick it was a "less sound agreement" because of the "meddling of Tony Blair."

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