The latest email from Joanna Lumley on behalf of the Gurkha Justice Campaign arrived today and reads as follows:
“I have some great news about the Gurkha Justice campaign that I want to update you on.
“Firstly, we now have over 120,000 online signatures with over 20,000 returned in the post. If you haven’t done so already, please spread the word to all your online contacts and ask them to sign up online too at http://www.gurkhajustice.org.uk
“Second, there have been some exciting steps forward in the House of Commons.
“Earlier this week the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons considered the right of Gurkhas to settle in the UK. The committee considered evidence from a range of different people, including our lawyers, a submission from me, and representatives from a number of Gurkha organisations.
“I’m so pleased to be able to tell you that they agreed with us entirely, and have sent a letter to the Home Secretary urging her to take “urgent action to redress the currently unfair situation by extending settlement rights in the UK to all Gurkhas”. You can read the full text of the letter at http://tinyurl.com/5ou59q
“This is a big step forward, with an influential cross-Party committee of MPs backing our cause. This is on top of the High Court’s ruling in late September that the Government’s action was “unlawful and unfair”.
“But just unbelievably, the Government has still not changed the law, and has still not yet agreed to offer a fair deal for Gurkhas.
“In this week in particular, when we have seen the tragic death of a Gurkha serving in the British Army in Afghanistan, and four soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles awarded the Military Cross, we need to redouble our efforts to make the Government see sense.
“Please do whatever you can to ask as many people as you can to sign the petition at http://www.gurkhajustice.org.uk – I want to take a simply huge petition to Downing Street on the 20th November.
“And I’d like you to join me in Parliament Square, Westminster, at 11am on Thursday 20th November, before we hand in the petition. I want to stand together with you and our Gurkha heroes and show just how strong the support for the Gurkhas cause is. Will you join me? I hope to see you there.
“Finally, especially for those who can join me on the 20th of November, you can buy Gurkha Justice t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags and more from our online shop with Spreadshirt at http://gurkhajustice.spreadshirt.net. Wear yours with pride – I certainly do – and for the next few days only (until this Sunday), Spreadshirt are offering free postage on all items to show their support for the campaign. Simply use the coupon code GURKHAFREE when ordering, and the postage for your items should be free.
!With warmest good wishes,
“PS. On Sunday, millions of us across the Country will be honouring those who fought and died for us on Remembrance Sunday.
“One hundred thousand Gurkhas fought in the First World War. They served in the battlefields of France in the Loos, Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle and Ypres; in Mesopotamia, Persia, Suez Canal and Palestine against Turkish advance, Gallipoli and Salonika. One detachment served with Lawrence of Arabia. 250,000 Nepalese Gurkhas served in the Second World War.
“It’s time to repay our debt of honour to them. www.gurkhajustice.org.uk“