Blair receives Liberty Medal

By staff

Tony Blair has received the Liberty Medal in the US for his role in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations.

The former prime minister was given the medal by Bill Clinton, president during part of Mr Blair’s tenure in Downing Street and a personal friend.

“Tony Blair believes that people of faith can be people of peace if they are willing to concede the possibility that once in a while they might be wrong – and that not every religious tenet can be turned into a political programme,” Mr Clinton said at the ceremony in Philadelphia.

“For that…we are profoundly in his debt. I can tell you that he deserves this award.”

The National Constitution Centre, which granted Mr Blair the award, said: “The centre believes that throughout the gruelling negotiation process that preceded the historic Good Friday Accord, he displayed unwavering determination to settle the generations-long conflict.

“Since leaving government, Tony Blair has continued to facilitate productive dialogue between diverse groups, as Quartet representative to the Middle East and through the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.”

But anti-war protestors and civil liberty campaigners were outraged by the news.

Stop The War Coalition national officer Andrew Burgin told Sky News: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. He’s the person who has done the most to destroy liberty in this country.

“It’s completely inappropriate that he has received this medal and it diminishes the honour itself.”

Mr Blair was forced to cancel a series of book signings recently after anti-war protestors tried to pelt him with shoes and eggs.