UK

Tony Blair Save the Children award criticised

Tony Blair at Save the Children gala Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tony Blair was given the "global legacy award" in New York last week

A Save the Children decision to give former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair an award for his anti-poverty work has been criticised by charity workers.

Almost 200 staff at the charity have signed a letter calling it "morally reprehensible", the Guardian said.

A separate petition calling for the Global Legacy Award to be revoked has gained more than 90,000 signatures.

A Save the Children spokeswoman said the award came from the US arm and the charity respected diversity of opinion.

'Inappropriate'

The internal Save the Children staff letter, which the Guardian reports has been signed by senior regional employees, says the award - which was presented in New York on 19 November - is a threat to the charity's credibility.

It adds: "We consider this award inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children's founding principles and values."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A petition calling for the award to be revoked has attracted more than 90,000 signatures

The Guardian also reports that the charity's global media manager, Krista Armstrong, sent an email acknowledging the "high volume of complaints and negative reactions regarding the award".

The online petition calling for the award to be revoked says Mr Blair's "legacy in Iraq overshadows his achievements in Africa".

Mr Blair was prime minister when UK and US forces controversially invaded Iraq in 2003.

'Strong views'

The former UK PM received the award for his work at the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005 and for his Africa Governance Initiative, according to the charity's website.

The Office of Tony Blair said in a statement: "The award was in recognition of Tony Blair's work in leading G8 nations at Gleneagles in 2005 to pledge to double aid to Africa and provide 100% debt relief to eligible countries, as well as his ongoing work in partnership with African governments through his Foundation, the Africa Governance Initiative."

The statement highlighted praise from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of Sierra Leone for Mr Blair's work.

A Save the Children spokeswoman said: "In a global organisation like ours of thousands of people our staff have strong views on a whole range of issues and people and we respect that diversity of views."

In September, men's magazine GQ defended its decision to give Mr Blair its "philanthropist of the year" award after criticism from MPs.

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