Dartford MP aims to combat 'stolen valour'
PUBLISHED: 14:15 04 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:15 04 July 2016
There have been several incidents across Kent
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has launched a parliamentary bill aimed at preventing people from pretending medals won by others are their own.
The Private Members Bill is to prohibit the wearing or public display, by a person not entitled to do so, of medals or insignia awarded for valour, with the intent to deceive.
Mr Johnson, who is president of The Royal British Legion, Greenhithe and Swanscombe, was picked out fifth of over 450 MPs to present a Private Members’ Bill to the House of Commons, and the second reading is set for November 25.
He said: “This bill prevents people from wearing medals that they have not legitimately received. It is wrong that Walter Mitty-style characters can undermine awards that genuine war heroes have courageously won.
“It’s wrong that people can get away with this – it’s effectively ‘stolen valour’.
“Across Kent there have been a number of incidents where people have pretended they have been awarded medals when they have not. Amazingly, at the moment, there is no law that prevents people from doing this. This bill aims to change that.
“This bill will only affect people who are intending to deceive people and therefore it will not affect those who wear medals as a mark of respect. For example, it will not affect a war widow who wears her late husband’s medals out of respect, it will also not affect re-enactments or people who wear them whilst acting.
“It angers me that a few people have pretended they had won medals for courage when that has not been the case. This bill aims to stop that and anyone doing this will face arrest and imprisonment.”