Surprise spreads across the internet, as Tony Blair was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ at the GQ Men of The Year awards.
The former Prime Minister received this award for him establishing three charities: The Tony Blair Sports Foundation, his Faith foundation and the Africa Governance Initiative.
Blair told the audience after getting his award: “I would like to dedicate this award to the people that work with and for me organisations. I feel the pulse of progress beating a little harder.”
The ceremony took place at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London last night, which saw gongs also given to Peter Capaldi for best TV Personality, Kim Kardashian as Woman of the Year, Benedict Cumberbatch as Actor and Pharrell Williams as solo artist.
There has been quite a lot of criticism for giving such an award to a man who has been notorious for his actions concerning the Middle East in 2003, particularly from some in his own party.
John Mann MP said, according to the Mail Online said “It sends the wrong message. This sort of awards should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity.”
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke said, “It is jaw dropping that he should be given this award given his involvement in spinning the alleged brutal massacre in Kazakhstan.”
His is referring to the revelation that Blair was giving PR advice to the President of Kazakhstan, who was giving a speech in defence of his country’s human rights record in light of the deaths of unarmed protesters at the hands of police.
Tony Blair is currently a Special Envoy for the Quartet Representative, a mandate set up to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Here are several responses from Twitter:
Tony Blair's tuxedo looked great at the GQ awards. I'M JUST SAYING. I KNOW HE'S DONE BAD THINGS BUT THE SUIT WAS NICE, OKAY.
— Joe Barton (@JoeBarton_) September 3, 2014
People shouldn't be so angry with GQ. I also often confuse the words "philanthropist" and "war monger" #tonyblair
— Sophia Walker (@PoetWalker) September 3, 2014
Apparently, Tony Blair has won GQ's philanthropist of the year award. Finally these awards have grasped irony!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 2, 2014