MPs debate whether ‘fake medals’ should be criminal offence

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A bill which could make it a criminal offence to wear ‘fake’ military medals has been debated by MPs today.

The Commons Defence Committee had said the ‘unauthorised and deceitful’ use of military decorations was insulting to the rightful recipients and damaged the integrity of the military honours system.

MPs in the Commons today carried out the second reading of the bill, which would create a new criminal offence with a maxiumum penalty of six months imprisonment or a £5,000 fine for those wearing medals they are not entitled to.

Legislation making the unauthorised wearing of medals a criminal offence was originally introduced in the aftermath of the First World War by the then secretary for war, Winston Churchill.

It remained on the statute book until 2006 when the new Armed Forces Act came into force and the provisions relating to military decorations were not carried over.

Introducing the bill, Conservative MP for Dartford Gareth Johnson said: ‘To undermine our veterans is wrong. To claim you are a military hero when you are not is wrong.

‘The whole point of this bill is protect genuine heroes. People should not be able to claim that they are heroes when they are not.’