Gurkhas win final victory to stay in Britain
Thursday 21 May 2009
All Gurkha veterans will today win the right to settle in Britain following an embarrassing climb-down by Gordon Brown.
The change of heart was forced on the Government by a vigorous campaign led by the actress Joanna Lumley and a humiliating Commons defeat on the issue.
Ms Lumley will discuss the new rules with the Prime Minister in Downing Street today. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will confirm the retreat in a statement to MPs. Ministers had previously refused to allow thousands of Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 to settle in Britain, claiming that it would cost £1.4bn to give residency rights to all 36,000 Nepalese ex-soldiers.
Under previous government proposals, only those who were officers, won medals for bravery or were injured would have been allowed to remain in the country.
Signalling the move, Mr Brown told MPs: "I believe it is possible for us to honour our commitments to the Gurkhas and to do so in a way that protects the public finances. We have a great deal of sympathy and support for those Gurkhas who wish to come into this country, many of whom have served the country and our army with huge distinction over the years."
Government lawyers were last night finalising the detail of the new policy, but Whitehall sources insisted it would satisfy the demands of campaigners.
David Enright, a lawyer for the campaign, said: "We think it is more or less a fait accompli, but we have had several false dawns before. Although everyone here is celebrating, I am not going to celebrate until I know for sure."
Campaigners have insisted that no more than 10,000 of the veterans would claim residency rights, with the majority opting to remain in Nepal. Ministers feared that allowing them to stay could give their descendants permission to stay and encourage other foreign-born veterans to apply to settle in Britain.
Ms Smith is expected to offer settlement to all veteran Gurkhas, but set tough restrictions on relatives' rights. Mr Brown suffered his first Commons defeat last month when 27 Labour MPs defied the whips to condemn the proposed immigration curbs on Gurkhas. Ms Lumley had accused the Prime Minister of failing to answer her letters. She angrily confronted Immigration minister Phil Woolas in a TV studio.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportUnder-10s football coach sacked for telling parents he was 'only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Work until you’re 70: Chancellor George Osborne accused of ‘living in fantasy land’ over Autumn Statement pension reforms
What made Charles Saatchi grab my throat outside Scott's, by Nigella Lawson - as she accuses him of threatening to 'destroy' her with drug claims
Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
Paul Walker death: Eight-year-old son of Porsche driver Roger Rodas tried to rescue his father
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 4 Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...