Brown defends military uniforms

Gordon Brown has condemned the alleged attacks on members of the armed forces wearing their military uniforms in public.

The prime minister has said service personnel must be able to wear their uniform without fear of intimidation.

He was speaking after RAF Wittering warned airforce personnel not to wear their uniforms when visiting nearby Peterborough.

Mr Brown said he believed the “great majority of the British public would condemn any form of abuse”.

“I condemn absolutely any members of the public who show abuse or discrimination to our armed forces.

“The public will want to show our respect and gratitude to our armed forces and we will back up the police in their efforts to show that at RAF Wittering or anywhere else it’s possible for the armed forces not only to wear their uniform but to have the thanks of the British public.”

Speaking at Downing Street he said: “All our armed forces should be able to, and encouraged to, wear their uniform in public and have the respect and gratitude of the British people for the huge commitment to public service they show.

“I encourage the local police to back up our armed forces so that not only can our armed forces wear their uniforms in public, but they should have the gratitude of the British public for the work they do.”

The MoD said the RAF Wittering order was a locally made decision and service personnel are generally encouraged to wear their uniforms.

But shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the public would be “appalled to hear there are no go-areas” for armed forces in Britain.

Defence secretary Des Browne said people must “defend our forces’ right to wear their uniforms in public.”