How the Gurkhas' victory was sealed with a kiss from Lumley

They had held a vigil at Westminster for weeks, protesting against what they saw us betrayal by the British government. Yesterday the Gurkhas celebrated at a Downing Street garden party after winning the historic right for veterans to settle in this country.

The Government's effective surrender on the issue in the face of a hugely popular campaign came in a Commons statement by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday afternoon. A little later, surrounded by more than 100 former soldiers the Prime Minister talked of his "great privilege" in welcoming the "bravest of all" to Britain.

Gordon Brown also paid tribute to the actress Joanna Lumley who has been the high-profile public face in the fight for Gurkha rights. He said: " She has been very persuasive and she has charmed not only the Cabinet, but the whole country."

One of those Ms Lumley apparently "charmed" was immigration minister Phil Woolas, whom she "ambushed" in a television interview and wrung from him the concession that the Gurkha settlement policy would be reviewed.

Ms Lumley revealed yesterday that a subsequent rapprochement had included a fish and chips and champagne supper at her London home followed by a goodnight kiss. She said: "I'm pleased to say we kissed on the doorstep, so there we are. A great injustice has been righted. The Gurkhas are coming home.

She added: "I would like to pay tribute to Gordon Brown the Prime Minister, a brave man who has made today a brave decision on behalf of the bravest of the brave. This is a fantastic day for my brothers and sisters. It is so thrilling to have overcome something which has gone on for so long. We knew it would be something good – but this is the best."

Some campaigners felt kissing Mr Woolas went way beyond the call of duty, but the veterans said they appreciated the work done by the actress, whose father served with the Gurkhas, in securing their victory. Mohan Bahadur Rai, who had been in the Army for 11 years, said: "We went through some very difficult times on this, and Miss Joanna was always there with us, so we want to thank her for her help. We feel this has been a great achievement for everyone."

Samser Jang Khastri, 58, who lost a foot after stepping on a landmine in Bosnia in 1997 said yesterday's decision has made "all my pain worthwhile. I have been unable to work since the accident and live on £40 housing benefit in a room in north London. But none of that matters. Today is all that matters for the Gurkhas. We are so pleased and meeting the Prime Minister has made me more proud than I have ever felt".

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, whose Commons motion led directly to the U-turn, said: "Gordon Brown has finally woken up to the principle that people across Britain understand instinctively: if someone is prepared to die for this country, they must be allowed to live in it. Tragically this decision will come too late for many of those brave Gurkhas who have been waiting so long to see justice done. Gordon Brown's claim of a "moral compass" rings hollow when, on every issue from Gurkhas to expenses, he has to be dragged every inch of the way towards doing the right thing."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup