‘Gurkhas to get British residency rights’May 20th, 2009 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS
London, May 20 (IANS) All Gurkha ex-soldiers who have served in the British Army are to be given the right to settle down in Britain with a formal statement expected Thursday, a newspaper reported.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has been severely embarrassed by Gurkha residency rights campaign led by screen actress Joanna Lumley, is expected to signal the new policy in the British parliament, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
The ruling Labour suffered a humiliating defeat in the parliament earlier this month when MPs from all major political parties voted to defeat government proposals to curtail the rights of Gurkha veterans to live in Britain.
The paper said the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, wrote to Brown Tuesday night following a private meeting with the Gurkha campaign group, including Lumley, and government officials.
Vaz accused the government of “overblowing” estimates that up to 100,000 former Gurkhas and families would come to Britain if rights were granted to all.
Officials admitted at the very most it would only be 84,000 while the campaigners put it at between 10,000 and 35,000, the letter said.
“We believe that Britain has a moral debt of honour to the Brigade of Gurkhas and that this can be realised along the lines suggested here,” Vaz said.
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