Tony Blair: Mother of dead soldier slams knighthood
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The Archbishop of Canterbury is set to interview the former Prime Minister in a new BBC radio series on faith and morality. Justin Welby will host the six-part BBC Radio 4 show called The Archbishop Interviews and will interview a string of high-profile guests including Sir Tony, author Stephen King and psychologist Dr Susan Blackmore. Reacting to the announcement on Twitter, James Bembridge, deputy editor of Country Squire Magazine, quipped: “This reminds me of when HIGNFY actually used to be funny.”
Sir Tony was the Labour Prime Minister between 1997 – 2007 and was appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter at the start of this year.
However, his legacy has been tainted by the unjust 2003 invasion of Iraq.
More than a million people signed the change.org petition to have him stripped of his honour for being “personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts”.
Actor and presenter Angus Scott, who created the petition accused Sir Tony of causing “irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society” while in office.
He added: “He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen 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.”
Despite the backlash, Mr Welby will speak with Sir Tony on morality to encourage listeners to engage and understand people who have different views from their own.
He explained: “It’s such a privilege to be able to spend time interviewing fascinating people from different backgrounds for this series, and I relish the opportunity to be the one asking the questions rather than answering them.
“There are few better ways to get to know someone than to inquire and listen.
“I want to hear about people’s lives, and the events and underlying frameworks that shape their views, and I’m extremely grateful for the generosity extended by each person in giving their time, honesty and sometimes their vulnerability as they tell their stories.
“I hope the series might give those who listen to it the curiosity to look at others who are different to them, to wonder who they might truly be, and how we might build relationships that cross divides.
“I pray it would be an encouragement to each of us to have conversations that seek to understand and know one another more fully.”
Mr Welby became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 after serving as the Bishop of Durham, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral and a Canon of Coventry Cathedral.
During his time in the Church, he has worked extensively in the field of reconciliation.
Dan Clarke, commissioner for Radio 4 said the series will offer an insight into the spiritual lives of “a fascinating range of people”.
“In The Archbishop Interviews, Radio 4 gives listeners the opportunity to delve into the inner lives of some of the most influential people in public life,” he said.
“These discussions, expertly guided by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will offer deep reflections on the moral, spiritual and faith lives of a fascinating range of people in ways I think will really resonate with our listeners.”
Mr Welby’s other guests include the chief executive of Citizens Advice Clare Moriarty, former Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, and British-Turkish novelist and political scientist Elif Shafak.
The Archbishop Interviews will be broadcast every Sunday at 13:30 on Radio 4 from Sunday 20 February, and be available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.
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