Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, 28, who won the VC four years agoThe British National Party is selling replica Victoria Crosses to fund extremism, The Sun can reveal.
In a breach of strict protocol, the far-right outfit is hawking life-size replicas of the nation’s highest award for bravery along with its famous scarlet ribbon for £12. Also for sale on the party’s official website are replicas of three World War II campaign medals and a World War I medal.
The Ministry of Defence last night said the sales were not illegal but branded the fake medals “an insult to both the Queen and our brave personnel”. MPs also rounded on the BNP for exploiting the heroism and sacrifice of servicemen to fill its coffers.
Under strict military rules, only armed forces heroes who have won the cherished gongs in combat – or their widows – are allowed to wear them. Hero Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, 28, who won the VC four years ago for saving 30 pals in Iraq, condemned the BNP.
He said: “Selling fake VCs is very disrespectful. The honour of the medal and its history shouldn’t be tarnished like this. I take so much pride in my medal and I hate seeing it abused. The medal is not about money or politics and it shouldn’t be worn for fun – that devalues the sacrifice of the soldiers who won it.”
Tory MP and ex-Army officer Patrick Mercer called on Defence Secretary Des Browne to make the BNP sales illegal.
He said: “This is utterly shameful. Medals for gallantry and campaigns are absolutely nothing to do with any political party. The Defence Secretary should look at this to see whether legislation should be introduced to forbid it.”
But BNP deputy chairman Simon Darby said: “We don’t get donations from dodgy foreign businessmen or the trade unions – so we raise money in other ways.”