Justice for the Gurkhas - government defeated in Lib Dem vote

Justice for the Gurkhas

According to a report on the BBC News website, the government has lost a vote in the House of Commons on its policy to restrict the right of former Gurkhas to settle in the UK.

MPs voted today by 267 to 246 in favour of a motion put down by the Liberal Democrats arguing that the government should extend an equal right of residence to all Gurkhas and lift the threat that thousands of retired Gurkhas will face deportation.

Clegg_head and shouldersEarlier, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg denounced the current policy. "People who are prepared to fight and die for our country should be entitled to live here. Yet even this basic principle is broken by this out of touch and morally bankrupt Government.

"Our debate will force the Government to come and explain its insulting decision to turn its back on these brave soldiers. MPs of all parties will be able to vote against the Government and force Gordon Brown to back down, even at this late stage.

"Gordon Brown has a chance to rediscover his moral compass and reverse the betrayal of these loyal veterans".

The following is the wording of the motion put before the House of Commons by the Lib Dems today:

That this House condemns the Government's recent statement outlining the eligibility criteria for Gurkhas to reside in the United Kingdom; recognises the contribution the Gurkhas have made to the safety and freedom of the United Kingdom for the past 200 years; notes that more Gurkhas have laid down their lives for the United Kingdom than are estimated to want to live here; believes that Gurkhas who retired before 1997 should be treated fairly and in the same way as those who have retired since; is concerned that the Government's new guidelines will permit only a small minority of Gurkhas and their families to settle whilst preventing the vast majority; further believes that people who are prepared to fight and die for the United Kingdom should be entitled to live here; and calls upon the Government to withdraw its new guidelines immediately and bring forward revised proposals that extend an equal right of residence to all Gurkhas.