LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has come out in support of Tony Blair after a petition to strip him of his knighthood reached 500,000 signatures on Monday.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Labour leader said that it was not a “thorny” issue and that Sir Tony should keep his knighthood.

READ MORE: Tony Blair set to keep knighthood despite petition - as no-one knows how to remove it

He said: “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.”

On Monday, out sister title The National in Scotland revealed how Blair looks set to keep his knighthood as no UK institution appeared to know how to remove it.

The usual process for taking away a knighthood would begin after a complaint is made through the Cabinet Office’s dedicated Forfeiture Committee email address.

The committee then considers each case and passes them to the monarch, which action to be taken then.

Asked about the Blair petition, the Cabinet Office insisted multiple times that it did not have the power to look at removing knighthoods. They said the inquiry should go through Buckingham Palace, but the palace said this had “nothing to do with” them and was “certainly a matter for the Government”.

The Cabinet Office then insisted the palace is “in the wrong about that”.

READ MORE: Nelson Mandela called Tony Blair 'head of the British Empire'

Blair’s knighthood has caused significant publish backlash, with nearly 550,000 people signing their name against the move.

Angus Scott, who started the petition, writes on the change.org website: "Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation's society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicement in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.

“Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.”

This article originally appeared in our sister publication, The National Scotland.

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