GQ magazine has defended its much criticised decision to award former Prime Minister Tony Blair the award for "philanthropist of the year." Awards producer Richard Dodson told BBC Radio 5 said Blair deserved the award for his work with the Faith Foundation, though conceded that the magazine liked celebrities who "cause a bit of a stir". 

Tony BlairTony Blair - the philanthropist of the year [Getty/Peter Macdiarmid]

The decision was criticised by some MP's including Labour's John Mann who said "it sends out the wrong message" adding, "This sort of award should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity."

BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said on Twitter: "Finally these awards have grasped irony?"

Conservative backbencher Charlie Elphicke called the decision "jaw-dropping", noting Blair's advisory role to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazabayev, whose government is alleged to have killed unarmed civilians in 2011.

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Or, as one Twitter user put it, "Congratulations to Tony Blair on winning 'Philanthropist of the Year' at GQ Awards. Next up, Jeremy Clarkson wins 'Diversity Champion 2014'."

Nevertheless, Dodson defended the decision, saying, "We like to have celebrities at our event who cause a bit of a stir. So having Tony was fantastic. We like to have people who have opinions and are forthright."

Elsewhere at the ceremony, the reality TV star Kim Kardashian - who attended with her partner Kanye West - was crowned Woman of the Year. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond was awarded politician of the year, while former Beatle Ringo Starr picked up a Humanitarian of the Year gong for his work with auteur David Lynch's charity, which helps abused children and war veterans with post-traumatic stress.

More: check out our Kim Kardashian pictures

More: check out our Ringo Starr pictures