After a short holiday I have returned to good news and am delighted to include here the following email from Joanna Lumley on behalf of the Gurkha Justice Campaign:
“At midday today, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith made the announcement to the House of Commons that the Gurkha Justice Campaign have been fighting for for years. All ex-Gurkhas who have served more than 4 years in the British Army will have the right to settle in the UK if they wish.
“After such a long fight, with huge ups and downs, this is a superb announcement.
“We simply would not have won this fight without the massive, overwhelming support of all those who have supported our campaign. To the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed Gurkha Justice petitions, lobbied their MP, campaigned, attended rallies and marches – thank you so much to you all. This is your victory. It would not have happened without you.
“The Government has now responded to that campaign after court cases, votes in Parliament, a huge media campaign and, most importantly, massive public support. I am delighted, and humbled, at what has been achieved by our remarkable team.
“The whole campaign has been based on the belief that those who have fought and been prepared to die for our country should have the the right to live in our country. We owe them a debt of honour – a debt that will now be paid.
“With warmest good wishes,
There was also an e-petition on the 10 Downing Street website and The Government has published the following response to that petition:
“We received a petition asking:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to give all Ex Gurkha soldiers and their families who have served our country British citizenship on leaving the service.”
“The Government’s response
“For many years, the Brigade of Gurkhas have shown bravery, commitment and dedication in serving this country, and continue to do so on operations today.
“This Government has done more for Gurkhas than any other. It was the first Government to grant settlement to Gurkhas and the first to equalise pay and pensions, with over 6,000 former Gurkhas and their families already given the right to live in the UK. In April we took steps to increase the number of Gurkhas eligible to come to this country by 4,000 or, including families, 10,000 people.
“The House of Commons has now expressed a clear view that all Gurkhas should be entitled to settle in the United Kingdom if that is what they wish.
“This Government respects the will of the House of Commons and recognises the strong feeling and public support for this cause. Consequently, we have announced today that all former Gurkhas who served for longer than four years will be eligible to apply for settlement in the United Kingdom. They will also be entitled to bring their spouses and dependent minor children. There will be no time limit on applications.
“This scheme recognises the unique nature of the service given to the UK by the Brigade of Gurkhas and is offered to them on an exceptional basis.
“We believe that in announcing the new policy today, we have met their concerns and those of Parliament.”