Lying about military record should be criminal offence, says senior Tory Johnny Mercer

LYING about your military record should be a criminal offence, Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer says.

The senior Tory made the call amid a war of words with his Labour rival Fred Thomas in Plymouth Moor View.

AFPJohnny Mercer calls for lying about military record to be made criminal offence[/caption]

Mr Mercer accused his opponent of being a “real-life Walter Mitty” who lied about his military service.

The row hinges on a 2023 Guardian article that reported Mr Thomas served in “combat missions” as a Royal Marine. 

Labour sources told the BBC this week that Mr Thomas had been misreported in the newspaper but he was unable to discuss large parts of his service due to “sensitive operations” he was involved with.

Mr Mercer told the Sun on Sunday: “It’s deeply disrespectful and offensive to those who have been in combat if you claim you have – when you haven’t.”

Mr Mercer said he was previously against criminalising people who bloat their record or fib because they are often vulnerable.

“This has completely changed my view,” he added. “People will use it and try paint a false impression of themselves for personal gain. I think we should criminalise it like they do in the United States.”

Mr Thomas strongly denies lying and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branded Mr Mercer’s attacks “sad and desperate”.

Mr Thomas said: “I am proud of having served my country for 7 years, including overseas on operations. 

“I remain unable to discuss much of my service, something which Johnny Mercer – as a former Defence minister – is keenly aware of.”

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