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Five former members of the legendary regiment of the Gurkhas and the widow of another Gurkha veteran have been to London’s High Court to challenge immigration rules denying an automatic right of entry to those who retired from the British Army before 1997.
Today they won that case, a test case potentially affecting another 2,000 former Gurkhas who retired before 1997.
Mr Justice Blake cited the ‘moral debt of honour’ owed to the Gurkhas by the British people, grateful for their long service, conspicuous acts of bravery and loyalty to the Crown.
Their lawyer, Martin Howe said: ‘This is a victory that restores honour and dignity to deserving soldiers who faithfully served in Her Majesty’s armed forces. It is a victory for common sense; a victory for fairness; and a victory for the British sense of what is right’.
The actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served with the Gurkhas, played a leading part in the victory, speaking powerfully in defence of their case. After the court victory she said the judgement ‘…gives our country the chance to right a great wrong and to wipe out a national shame that has stained us all’.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, also at the High Court for the case, described it as ‘a wonderful vindication’ for those campaigning to recognise the rights of the Gurkhas – who have served in the British Army for 200 years with 200,000 fighting for Britain in the First and Second World Wars.
Mr Clegg said: ‘I’ve always felt that if someone is prepared to die for this country, then they should have the right to live in this country’.