THE twin brother of a soldier who died in Iraq said his ‘blood ran cold’ on hearing Tony Blair was being knighted, despite his highly controversial and costly invasions of the Middle East as Prime Minister.

Lance Corporal David Wilson, who was 27 and from Spennymoor, died from a gunshot wound at Basra airbase in 2008 where he served with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps.

His twin, Mike Wilson, now 40, said he was ‘disgusted’ that the former premier was awarded a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in the New Year Honours list, adding it is ‘an insult to David’s memory’.

The Northern Echo:

Lance Corporal David Wilson died from a gunshot wound

Mr Blair, who represented the Sedgefield constituency, has faced fierce criticism for 20 years for sending troops into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and invading Iraq in 2003 amid widespread public opposition.

In 2016, an inquiry led by Sir John Chilcot found Mr Blair ‘overplayed’ evidence about Saddam Hussein’s Weapon of Mass Destruction.

The Northern Echo:

Mike Wilson who is from Bishop Auckland and now lives in Cockermouth

Mr Wilson, 40, who works as an ambulance emergency medical technician, said: “It is disgraceful, given the outcome of the Chilcott report, in which it was clear that he and Mr Bush has deceived us all to go to war in the first place, that Mr Blair should be allowed a knighthood.

“The whole thing is skewed, given what he has done. It should not be allowed.

“It is ridiculous.”

The Northern Echo:

David Wilson with his daughter Poppy before his death in Iraq

L Cpl David Wilson became father to his daughter, Poppy, weeks before his death, and his brother has shared a poignant photograph of him with her before he was sent to Iraq.

Mr Wilson also shared a photograph of Mr Blair with a group of soldiers, including David, during a visit to meet troops as they served in Afghanistan.

The Northern Echo:

David Wilson, third from left at the back, with Tony Blair in Afghanistan 

Mr Blair, who led the Labour Party to three consecutive election victories and served as Prime Minister from 1997 and 2007, has been branded a ‘war criminal’ for his decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr Wilson said the 68-year-old was ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 450 British soldiers and the ramifications of those invasions, including domestic terror attacks and the widespread chaos in the Middle East that followed as a result.

An online petition demanding Mr Blair is denied a knighthood has reached over 440,000 names and critics have called the honour a ‘kick in the teeth’ to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Military mothers who lost their sons during the conflicts are reportedly threatening to return Elizabeth Crosses, which are given to bereaved families, in protest.

The Northern Echo: Tony Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair 

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, told LBC radio: “I think it’s pretty incredible given that we’ve seen the collapse of Afghanistan, which [was] Tony Blair’s first major war in the war on terror.

“We have 8 million people on the edge of starvation in Afghanistan now.

“We have Iraq in a terrible state now, nearly 20 years after the invasion.

“And I think it’s a kick in the teeth for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a kick in the teeth for all the people who protested against the war in Iraq and who have been proved right.”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Mr Blair’s knighthood was ‘respectful and the right thing to do’ as he had done ‘one of the toughest jobs in the world’ by serving as prime minister.

Read more: Visiting suspended at hospitals across County Durham and Darlington

The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system and is issued at the discretion of the monarch.

Mr Wilson is working on a letter for Buckingham Palace to express his disgust at the controversial honour for Mr Blair.

He said: “I am going to write to the Queen. I know it is not going to change anything.

“He is going to get that knighthood regardless, and regardless of the petition, it is still going to happen.

“I am still going to do it because it would not be fair on David’s legacy if I didn’t.”

The Northern Echo:

Lance Corporal David Wilson died in Iraq in December 2008


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