British MPs vote to give Gurkhas right to live in Britain

April 30th, 2009 - 12:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, Apr 30 (ANI): British MPs belonging to the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have backed a Liberal Democrat motion by 267 votes to 246 to give Gurkhas the right to live in the UK, dealing a major blow to the Gordon Brown Government over his refusal to allow the veterans to live in the country.

The vote is not legally binding, but opposition leaders insist that ministers must now abandon new rules on admitting Gurkhas and their families introduced last week.

Under the new rules, only Gurkhas with at least 10 years’ service are eligible to come to Britain. Other foreign nationals serving with the British Armed Forces can apply after only four years, The Telegraph reported.

The High Court last year declared that preventing Gurkhas who had served in the British Army before 1997 from living in this country was unlawful.

In response, the Home Office last week issued fresh criteria for allowing Gurkhas into the UK, but set the bar for entry so high that campaigners say that only a few hundred veterans will ever qualify.

At an impromptu press conference outside the Commons after the vote, both Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, and David Cameron, the Tory leader, said the Prime Minister must now change his policy.

Gurkhas have served the British crown since 1815 and have amassed battle honours including 26 Victoria Crosses. (ANI)

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