Teenager Wants Poppy Law Change

A former shop assistant who forced a fashion company to overturn its rule forbidding poppies from being worn by staff has launched a petition aimed at preventing shops from banning the charity symbol.

Harriet Phipps was told last year to remove the poppy while working at the Hollister store in Southampton.

The 19-year-old was told that her job as a ''model'' required her to wear clothes from the shop to provide customers with an impression of how they look.

But after meeting the shop's management, she persuaded them to change their rules to allow staff to wear the poppy for a two-week period.

Now Miss Phipps, who has ceased working for the firm and moved back to her home town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, has continued her campaign to promote the British Legion cause.

Having met veterans, she has launched an online petition calling on the Government to amend the law to prevent firms from being allowed to ban the poppy.

She is calling for a change to the Equality Act 2010, paragraph three of Schedule 9, which protects the image of an organisation with its customers.

The teenager has her own website and has produced T-shirts and leaflets to encourage people to sign up to her petition.

If she gains 100,000 signatures on the GoPetition site, the Government will be forced to consider debating the issue in Parliament.

Miss Phipps said:

''The poppy is our national symbol of remembrance and if we want to wear one, we should be able to.

''At the moment employers have the right to tell their staff to take it off and that's what I'm trying to change.

''This year is the 90th anniversary of the Poppy Appeal and 10 years since the start of the war in Afghanistan so I feel it is the right time for this change in the Equality Act.

''I have got about 13,000 signatures so far and I am hoping to have a meeting with my local MP to see if he can help me.''

For more information and a link to the petition, visit the website www.poppywithpride.co.uk.