Anti-Tony Blair Petitioner Dismisses Civil Partnership Reform As 'The Gay Thing'

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Angus Scott (L) and Labour MP Chris Bryant (R) (Photo: BBC Politics Live)
Angus Scott (L) and Labour MP Chris Bryant (R) (Photo: BBC Politics Live)

The petitioner behind the call not to knight Tony Blair locked horns with Labour MP Chris Bryant when he described the former prime minister’s work to help the LGBTQ+ community as “the gay thing”.

The petition, now at more than 720,000 signatures, was started by Angus Scott who said he experienced “shock, horror, exasperation” when Blair’s knighthood was announced in the New Year’s honours.

Labour MP Chris Bryant was defending Blair’s legacy in a conversation with Scott on BBC Politics Live when he pointed out: “I’m a gay man – it was thanks to Tony Blair’s legislation that I was able to enter a civil partnership.”

In response, Scott said Bryant’s argument did not persuade him to support Blair, adding: “There is a balance of the scales, and on one side you have his good deeds – the gay thing, etc.”

Bryant quickly jumped in: “The gay thing? The gay thing? Is that how you describe it? Really?”

“I beg your pardon. I forget the legal terms,” Scott said.

“I think you betrayed yourself there, sir.”

“No, I’m sorry I reject that. I am a complete supporter of that. But that’s irrelevant. My politics are irrelevant.

“We’re not discussing my politics here.”

Blair oversaw a wave of legislation around strengthening LGBTQ+ equality during his time in Downing Street, including civil partnerships, same-sex adoption, the Gender Recognition Act and the 2007 Equality Act.

Blair, pictured in November 2021 (Photo: Samir Hussein via Getty Images)
Blair, pictured in November 2021 (Photo: Samir Hussein via Getty Images)

Bryant also argued that knighthoods have gone to every previous prime minister before Blair, and claimed the introduction of the national minimum wage alone was enough to justify the last Labour prime minister’s knighthood.

However, Scott claimed: “We all know the legacy of Tony Blair and it does extend beyond the Iraq War, and that he should receive such an honour from Her Majesty, it just sends a really powerful, negative message, not just to the country but the world as a whole.

“Through the lens of time we’ve now seen what his legacy has unfolded as over the last 14 years. And that, from a personal perspective, just made me angry.”

Asked more directly about Blair’s achievements, the petitioner said, “he’s not all bad” and had had some successes.

He then said the former prime minister was “almost solely responsible for the breakup of the United Kingdom” through devolution.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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