Boris Johnson has not ‘earned’ a knighthood – UK Labour leader

Boris Johnson Has Not ‘Earned’ A Knighthood – Uk Labour Leader Boris Johnson Has Not ‘Earned’ A Knighthood – Uk Labour Leader
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, © PA Wire/PA Images
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David Hughes, PA Political Editor

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the British prime minister has not “earned the right” of a knighthood once he leaves office.

Mr Starmer’s comments about Mr Johnson come after the opposition leader dismissed criticism of Sir Tony Blair’s knighthood, insisting the former British prime minister deserves the honour.

More than half a million people have signed a petition calling for Mr Blair’s appointment by Britain's Queen Elizbeth II to the Order of the Garter – the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry – to be rescinded over his domestic record and the Iraq War.

But Mr Starmer insisted the honour is not a “thorny” issue and that Mr Blair had been a “very successful prime minister”.

After giving a speech in Birmingham about Labour’s priorities for 2022, Mr Starmer was asked about the former prime minister’s knighthood, and whether Mr Johnson should be honoured in future.

He replied: “No, I am sorry, I don’t think that this prime minister has earned the right to have an honour."

"I do think Tony Blair has," he added.

Mr Blair’s knighthood could clear the way for his successors in No 10 to be given similar honours, following reports that the delay in granting the accolade was blocking the others.

A Change.Org online petition calling for Mr Blair to be stripped of the honour had been signed by more than 544,000 people by Tuesday morning.

Mr Starmer had earlier told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I don’t think it’s thorny at all; I think he deserves the honour. Obviously I respect the fact that people have different views.

“I understand there are strong views on the Iraq War. There were back at the time and there still are, but that does not detract from the fact that Tony Blair was a very successful prime minister of this country and made a huge difference to the lives of millions of people in this country.”


The Mr Johnson's official spokesman said: “Appointments to the Order of the Garter are a matter for Her Majesty the Queen, there is no involvement of the prime minister or government, so it wouldn’t be one for me to comment on.

“I would point out every former prime minister before Tony Blair has received the Order of the Garter or Thistle.”

Asked whether Mr Johnson believed the signatories of the petition were wrong, the spokesman said it was “a matter for the queen”.

It would also be a matter for the queen whether Mr Johnson receives a knighthood after leaving office, the spokesman added.

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