Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Doing justice by the Gurkhas
This week I took part in a lobby of Parliament by campaigners calling for justice for Gurkhas who served our country with distinction but who are refused the right to settle here. The campaign has been led publicly by Joanna Lumley, whose father was closely connected with the Gurkhas, and has achieved a recent success in the High Court, where the Government's refusal to allow Gurkhas who retired pre 1997 to settle in the UK was deemed unlawful. The Government is now re-thinking its policy, but we need to keep up the pressure. My view is that it is a disgrace that these very brave men - two of whom were awarded a Victoria Cross for their courage - who served our country are now being sent away on the basis that they do not have strong enough links with this country! This adds insult to injury because one of the reasons why they do not have such strong links is that they and their families have been refused permission to settle. The numbers of people involved is small, but the debt of honour is great, and it something that the UK Government should sort out as a matter of urgency.