Armed forces personnel should be encouraged to wear their uniform while going about their business in local communities, an MP has said.

Tory backbencher Stephen Kerr said British troops emulating the American services would raise the profile and recognition of the armed forces.

"One of the points that I wonder if we ought not to encourage is the more widespread wearing of uniform by service personnel when they are going about their business in our communities," said Mr Kerr, the MP for Stirling.

"The standard practice currently, I think, is for them to wear civilian clothing.

"But wearing the uniform, as the Americans services do, I think would also raise the profile and the recognition of our armed forces."

Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) added: "I think that point is extremely well made.

"I might say, for the amusement of the House, that when I was lowly private in the 51st Highland Volunteers, I used to find one of the best ways to get home after a long camp far away in a remote part of the Highlands was to wear my uniform and hitchhike, and invariably one did get a lift pretty fast I can tell you.

"From a sedentary position, the question was 'would I still use that uniform'? Unfortunately, it has shrunk over time."