Prime Minister David Cameron has called Tony Blair's recent Save the Children Award "remarkable" while adding that whoever gave his predecessor the award knew little about peacekeeping or peacemaking. The Children Global Legacy Award was awarded to Blair, the former British PM, on Nov. 19 at a New York gala and immediately drew controversy, with many suggesting that his role in the 2003 Iraq invasion -- which he led Britain into -- made him an inappropriate choice.
“Should Tony Blair get a global legacy award from Save the Children for taking us to war unnecessarily in Iraq?” asked Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons Thursday.
Blair was handed the award for his successful efforts to get G-8 nations to pledge $40 billion to the Make Poverty History campaign.
The petition to revoke the award has already received 10,000 signatures along with a letter from 500 dissatisfied employees of the charity. An internal letter called the award to Blair "morally reprehensible" and said it “endangers our credibility globally.”
“We consider this award inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children's founding principles and values. Management staff in the region were not communicated with, nor consulted about the award and were caught by surprise with this decision,” the letter protest said.
After Cameron's outburst in Parliament on Thursday, further questions were being asked about the political independence of the charity following revelations that former Prime Ministers Blair and Gordon Brown have personal links to its leadership. The group's U.K. chief executive, Justin Forsythe, was formerly a special adviser to Blair.