Lumley joy as Gurkhas win total victory

Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley paid tribute to Prime Minister Gordon Brown today as she hailed the decision to allow all Gurkha veterans to come to Britain.

The move, announced in the Commons by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, means thousands of Gurkhas who retired before 1997 will be given settlement rights.

Lumley said: "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.

"A great injustice has been righted. The Gurkhas are coming home."



The changes will allow retired servicemen with four years service to move to this country, Ms Smith told the Commons.

She said: "Generations of Gurkhas have served the United Kingdom with great courage, sacrifice and distinction and they continue to make a vital and valued contribution to our operations around the world.

"We respect the will of the House of Commons on this issue and that is why I have now announced a new policy, the basis of which we have worked on with the Home Affairs Select Committee and Gurkha representatives.

"This means we can now welcome any Gurkha who has served for four years or more to settle in the UK."





The decision sparked jubilant scenes outside parliament as Lumley informed her fellow supporters that victory was complete.

The actress choked back tears as she thanked Mr Brown for making his "brave decision".

She then joined hundreds of former Gurkhas and supporters in screaming their famous battle cry "Ayo Gurkhali", meaning "the Gurkhas are coming".

Ms Lumley added: "This is a fantastic day for my brothers and sisters."

Flanked by supporters, she then joined in giving three cheers for the Prime Minister.



Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, whose Commons motion led directly to the u-turn, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that the Gurkhas have finally been given justice.

"This is a great victory for the Gurkhas and for everyone who has campaigned on their behalf.

"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."



Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "This has been a great victory for Joanna Lumley and her well-run campaign that has publicly embarrassed Ministers and has reminded us all of the role that the Gurkhas have played in helping defend this country over the centuries.

"First and foremost this case was about basic decency. People from around the world have come to live in this country in the past decade.

"There was never a justification to deny that right to a group of people who have long lived in the nation's affections, and who have risked and often given their lives for its protection.

"It is just a shame that the Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the courts and then through the crowds of Gurkhas outside parliament before it finally did the right thing."



Lumley was informed of the decision by the PM at breakfast talks today.

The Government U-turn followed a two-year campaign to get the same rights for pre-1997 Gurkhas as those who retired more recently.

They reacted with anger to new Home Office rules published last month which they said would allow only 100 more to move here.

Ministers were forced to reconsider the rules after they lost a Commons vote last month on a Liberal Democrat motion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Special Needs Support Worker

£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence