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30 September 2008

Barrett calls on Government to honour Gurkhas after landmark ruling

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, has today welcomed the High Court ruling condemning the Government’s policy of deporting retired Gurkhas and urged Edinburgh residents to put pressure on Ministers to give all retired Gurkhas the right to become British citizens.

Previously Gurkhas who retired before 1997 did not have the automatic right to stay in the country, despite many of them serving their country with distinction for at least 15 years.

The Gurkhas have loyally fought for the British all over the world, receiving 13 Victoria Crosses between them. More than 200,000 fought in the two world wars and in the past 50 years, they have served in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Borneo, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo and now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John Barrett said:

 “This ruling underlines the shameful treatment of the Gurkhas, brave soldiers who have for years served our country with distinction. The Government have dishonoured these soldiers and the memory of their fellow soldiers who cannot see justice be done today.

“For too long the Governments have stuck their fingers in their ears in the hope that this issue would go away. Today’s ruling must be a wake-up call to ministers that they can no longer ignore the legitimate rights of Gurkhas to live in this country.

“While today’s ruling is a huge step forwards, there remains much more to be done. We have to send a clear message to the Government that they must now give Gurkhas the right to stay in the UK and become British citizens.

“They have fought and died for our county, they deserve to be able to live in the UK. I will be urging my constituents to sign the petition at www.gurkhajustice.org.uk.”

Former Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell added:

“The Government must honour the spirit of this decision. Brave Gurkhas soldiers must not be discriminated against. To risk your life for Great Britain surely gives you the right to live here.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.