MORE than 350,000 people have signed a petition calling for Tony Blair’s knighthood to be rescinded.

Several petitions to have the former PM’s inclusion in the New Year Honours list overturned have been created on the site.

Around 370,000 names have been signed on the petition on the platform at the time of writing. Another on the same site is approaching 26,000, while a further counts more than 12,200 signatures.

Amongst other reasons, those in support cited his decision to launch military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some parents of military personnel killed after Blair ordered the deployment of UK troops in the US-led invasion have hit out at the decision to appoint him a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which is the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

READ MORE: Commons Speaker defends Tony Blair knighthood as backlash grows

Made by the Queen, the designation has been given to former PMs, with John Major the last to receive it. On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said all former prime ministers should receive the honour.

The National: Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle during the debate in the House of Commons on the EU (Future Relationship) Bill..

He stated: “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.”

Blair held office from 1997 to 2007. He was preceded by Major and followed by Gordon Brown.

Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and are typically announced on St George’s Day in April. However, the monarch can pick any other point to do so. The Garter recognises outstanding public service and achievement and dates back to the reign of Edward III in 1348.

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Blair has described it as an “immense honour”, stating: “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.”

In 2016, the long-delayed Chilcot Report into the Iraq War found that Blair’s government “chose to join the invasion ... before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted”, adding: “Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

It also found that Blair had exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime while making the case for military action to both MPs and the public in the build-up to the invasion in 2002 and 2003 and relying more on his own judgement than military intelligence.

In a memo to then US president George W Bush – before UN weapons inspectors had even completed their work – Blair pledged: “I will be with you, whatever.”

After the findings were published, Blair gave a two-hour press conference in which he sought to defend his actions, stating: “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer.”

But Carol Valentine, whose son Simon was killed while clearing landmines in Afghanistan, told the Mirror newspaper that the knighthood is the “ultimate insult”. Hazel Hunt, whose son Richard also died in Afghanistan, said the news had her considering whether to send back the Elizabeth Cross her family had received, and Caroline Whitaker, whose son Gareth was shot dead by an Afghan police officer, said the development was “making a mockery” of the losses.

Meanwhile, critics signing the petition have called him a “war criminal”, despite the fact that no prosecution has been led against him.

One wrote: “Tony Blair should be prosecuted, not knighted. Someone like this being honoured shows how corrupt and vile the system is.”

Another said: “A war criminal with the blood of countless innocent on his hands. It proves time for this ‘elitist’ handing out of ‘honours’ be done away with.”

A third posted: “If it’s tradition that former PMs get a knighthood, then high time that tradition gets binned. No way should this self-centred, egotist be knighted.”