Thousands of people have signed an online petition hosted by the British Government to remove the late Ted Kennedy's knighthood.

The petition's creator Stephen Clements says he started the petition because he claims that Kennedy supported the IRA.

"Ted Kennedy throughout the 70's and 80's actively supported groups whose sole purpose was to financially support IRA families," he said.

"This support enabled the IRA to continue its muder (sic) campaign against UK citizens for a longer period than would otherwise have happened and contributed to the number of deaths on both sides.

"It is highly unlikely that the US Government would have rewarded people who financially supported the families of the 911 bombers - so why does the UK Prime Minister believe that we should reward similar people."

So far, 5397 people have signed up for the petition which expires on March 7, 2010.

The petition is hosted on the official Number 10 website at

There were howls of outrage in Britain in March when the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the award.

Conservative politicians said Kennedy did not deserve to be knighted as he was too closely linked to the Irish nationalist movement.

Speaking in March, Norman Tebbit, the former Tory Cabinet minister whose wife was confined to a wheelchair after being badly injured during the IRA bombing at the party's 1984 Birghton conference denounced the honorary knighthood as "wholly inappropriate."