Johnson hasn’t earned right to honour: Starmer

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

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 10:29 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

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

More than half a million 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appointment by the Queen to the Order of the Garter – the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry – to be rescinded over his domestic record and the Iraq War.

But Sir Keir insisted the honour is not a “thorny” issue and that Sir Tony had been a “very successful prime minister”.

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After giving a speech in Birmingham about Labour’s priorities for 2022, Sir Keir 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.”

In his speech, Sir Keir also paid tribute to the past Labour governments of Attlee, Wilson and Blair, adding they “made Britain a better country”.

He said: “We must be the people who write the fourth chapter. The people who create a new Britain in the 21st century.”

Sir Tony’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.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has suggested that all former prime ministers should be offered a knighthood because “it is one of the toughest jobs in the world”.