The Telegraph reports this morning that the UK government will allow all Gurkhas with a record of honourable service to settle in the UK.
All Gurkha veterans were finally granted the right to live in Britain yesterday as the Government was forced into a humiliating climbdown. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, confirmed the policy reversal for those with four years’service in a Commons statement following an intense three year campaign, led by Joanna Lumley, the actress.
The victory brings to an end more than 20 years of demands to give Gurkha veterans equal rights and has left Gordon Brown and his ministers embarrassed after misjudging the public mood.
Joanna Lumley was generous in her response to Gordon Brown, and expressed her thanks that his government had finally done the right thing.
But others were openly frustrated about the gap between Labour’s claims to the be party which cares about ordinary people, and its policies and practices.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat Leader whose Commons motion led directly to the Government’s volte-face, labelled it a “great victory” but added: “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.”
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: “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.”