GURKHAS WIN RIGHT TO STAY IN UK

May 21, 2009 8:26 PM

All Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years' service will be allowed to settle in the UK.

The Government U-turn comes after a high-profile campaign by Joanna Lumley and other supporters of Gurkha rights - and an embarrassing Commons defeat for Gordon Brown.

Some 36,000 Gurkhas who left before 1997 had been denied UK residency.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg 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."

The announcement follows a key House of Commons vote lead by the Liberal Democrats that the Government lost.

The Liberal Democrat leader added: "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."