‘It’s a massive insult’: Hemel Hempstead MP and former soldier hits out at fake military heroes

Mike Penning
Mike Penning

Hemel Hempstead MP and former soldier Mike Penning has described the actions of people who wear military medals they haven’t won as a “massive insult”.

The government is backing calls for a change in the law to prosecute impostors, or so-called ‘Walter Mittys’.

And Mr Penning is keen to push through the bill which could see offenders facing a fine of £5,000 or six months in jail.

“I think it’s a massive insult,” he said. “It’s not about fraud - that’s a separate offence.

“These are Walter Mittys. People who have the audacity to wear medals that are not theirs.”

Mr Penning, who is confident that the backbench bill will go through, said he does not want to alarm family members who wear them out of respect.

Mr Penning added that he has previously worn his grandfather’s medals on his right breast.

But the Hemel Labour Party think there are more pressing matters. A Labour spokesman said: “While we welcome any measure to penalise military imposters, it beggars belief that our MP is prioritising this on the same day the Chancellor announced eye-watering levels of public borrowing and a failure of the last six years of Tory economic policy.

“While there is no evidence of military impostors on the streets of Hemel, there has been a massive increase in the numbers of working families being forced to use food banks.”