UK actress Lumley begged for Gurkha settlement rights

May 30th, 2009 - 4:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, May 30 (ANI): Actress Joanna Lumley had to beg British Prime Minister Gordon Brown over the issue of Gurkhas’ settlement rights, she has revealed.

In an interview with Jonathan Ross, the actress said she resorted to going on “the Lumley self-pleading offensive”.

Lumley declared “the Gurkhas are coming home” last week after the government finally relented on the issue of the soldiers’ right to live in the UK.

Speaking on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Lumley, 63, said of her talks with Brown: “I begged him to take it into his own hands… the government was being fed scare stories.”

Earlier the month, she organized a fish and chips and champagne supper at her London home for Immigration Minister Phil Woolas and followed it up with a goodnight kiss to seal the deal to ensure the Gurkhas got residency rights in the United Kingdom.

Lumley convinced Woolas to end the standoff over Gurkha residency rights.

“I’m pleased to say we kissed on the doorstep, so there we are. A great injustice has been righted. The Gurkhas are coming home,” The Independent quoted Lumley, as saying.

The Gordon Brown Government’s effective surrender on the issue in the face of a hugely popular campaign came in a Commons statement by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

The Prime Minister talked of his “great privilege” in welcoming the “bravest of all” to Britain.

Gordon Brown also paid tribute to Lumley who has been the high-profile public face in the fight for Gurkha rights.

He said: ” She has been very persuasive and she has charmed not only the Cabinet, but the whole country.”

She said: “I would like to pay tribute to Gordon Brown the Prime Minister, a brave man who has made a brave decision on behalf of the bravest of the brave. This is a fantastic day for my brothers and sisters. It is so thrilling to have overcome something which has gone on for so long. We knew it would be something good - but this is the best.”

Some campaigners felt kissing Woolas went way beyond the call of duty, but the veterans said they appreciated the work done by the actress, whose father served with the Gurkhas, in securing their victory.

Mohan Bahadur Rai, who had been in the Army for 11 years, said: “We went through some very difficult times on this, and Miss Joanna was always there with us, so we want to thank her for her help. We feel this has been a great achievement for everyone.”

Samser Jang Khastri, 58, who lost a foot after stepping on a landmine in Bosnia in 1997 said yesterday’s decision has made “all my pain worthwhile.” (ANI)

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