Gurkha law to be reviewed after court ruling
The government has pledged to review current legislation barring Gurkhas who retired before 1997 from living in the UK after a high court ruling earlier today.
Gurkha soldiers received a massive boost in their campaign to remain in Britain after the court ruled the government’s stance was unlawful.
A two-year campaign launched by the Nepalese soldiers, who have served with the British army since the early 19th century, said the current law was unjust.
Under current legislation, only those who retired after 1997 are automatically granted the right to stay in Britain.
On Tuesday the high court agreed with the Gurkhas, paving the way for veterans who retired before 1997 – when Hong Kong was a UK territory – to seek settlement in Britain.
In response home secretary Jacqui Smith told inthenews.co.uk that the government would revise and publish new guidance in light of the court’s ruling.
“We will honour our commitment to the Gurkhas by reviewing all cases by the end of the year,” Ms Smith said.
Actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served with the Gurkhas for 30 years, said outside court that the decision had given the UK “the chance to right a great wrong and wipe out a national shame”.
“This unlawful ruling will be overturned, but it is not over yet, it will not be until the law is fundamentally rewritten,” she added.
The Gurkhas’ base moved from Hong Kong to south-east England in 1997 and the government has previously claimed that those who retired before that year had to have their links to Britain in an individual review basis.
In addition, Gurkhas who retired before 1997 receive only a quarter of that that what those who retired after receive.