Beckenham MP Bob Stewart decries fake SAS beret wearers in military medals debate
PUBLISHED: 13:02 25 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:02 25 November 2016
New laws are being proposed which would make it an offence for people to wear unearned military medals
Conservative Bob Stewart has expressed concerns about impostors wearing fake SAS berets, saying he thought only one in 20 of those he had seen wearing them had actually served.
A Private Members Bill which aims to create new a law banning people wearing fake military medals is having its second reading in the Commons today, where the Beckenham MP showed his support for the proposals.
Gareth Johnson, the Tory MP for Dartford, is leading the fight to make the practice a criminal offence - which could ultimately lead to those who wear fake medals with a three-month prison term.
Mr Stewart, a former British Army Officer, said he did not support a prison sentence - but the laws could “embarass the hell” out of those posing as war hereos.
He said: “ It takes some neck to wear what you have not earned in front of veterans. They must have some sort of courage.
“It’s often linked to people wearing berets of regiments they don’t belong to and challenging those miltiary impostors publicly is a hellishly good deterrent.
“Ridicule by real service veterans is a very good way to deal with Walter Mitty characters.”
Mr Johnson’s Bill has already received the backing of the Commons Defence Committee, which said in a report earlier this week that the unauthorised wearing of medals constituted “a harm that is worthy of specific criminal prohibition”.
The Dartford MP said the bill would not prevent families wearing medals in honour of loved ones and would be sensitive to those with mental health issues.