New proposals will make it a crime for anyone to pose as a military veteran by wearing medals, awarded by the nation, that they have not earned themselves.
The ‘Awards for Valour (Protection)’ Bill was supported by the Government at Second Reading in the House of Commons today.
With Government support, the Bill should become law and those flouting the rules, widely known as ‘Walter Mittys’, could face up to 3 months in prison or an unlimited fine.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin, who responded to the Bill in the Commons today on behalf of the Government said:
Wearing unauthorised medals is harmful because it undermines the integrity of our formal military honours
system – a historic system that has honoured the bravery and dedication of our world-class Armed Forces since
the 19th century.
The Bill tabled by MP Gareth Johnson and supported by the Government is also backed by the House of Commons Defence Committee and an e-petition signed by 11,000 members of the public.
The Bill rightly protects family members wearing relative’s medals as a sign of respect and theatrical, TV or film productions.
Following the Bill passing Second Reading today, it will now move to the Committee Stage where it will be gone through in detail and any necessary amendments made.
It is already an offence under the Fraud Act of 2006 for someone to wear a medal they are not entitled to, but only if it is for financial gain. This offence carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment. This Bill seeks to tackle those who are not covered by this provision.