Tag Archives: gurkhas

Gurkhas join in Lib Dem election campaign in Maidstone

The BBC reports:

Gurkhas have joined in the election campaign in Maidstone to support the Liberal Democrat candidate for Ann Widdecombe’s former Kent seat. Lib Dem candidate Peter Carroll set up the Gurkha Justice Campaign, which last year won the right for the Gurkhas to settle in the UK.

Mr Carroll said the Gurkhas, who are based in Folkestone, travelled to Maidstone on Saturday. “They brought all their musicians and dancers and it was like a carnival.”

Readers of the best-selling Why Vote Lib Dem book will have had chance to read a short article by Madan Kumar Gurung, a …

Posted in General Election | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

LDVideo Easter Saturday special: Lib Dem leaders at PMQs

Welcome to this latest LDVideo instalment, and today as a special holiday treat we’re highlighting three political video clips showing Lib Dem leaders on top form at Prime Minister’s Questions.

First up, is Ming Campbell. Now Ming didn’t always have the happiest time at PMQs, but there were times when he hit his stride perfectly, and this was one such occasion, on 24th January 2007, when shaming Tony Blair’s failure to debate in the Commons whether troops should be withdrawn from Iraq:

(Also available on YouTube here).

Secondly, how could we forget Vince Cable‘s starring turn as acting leader? Certainly Gordon ‘Mr Bean’ Brown will never forget it:

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“Does the government really want to pick a fight with Joanna Lumley six weeks before a general election?”

Joanna Lumley and Peter Carroll, founder of the Gurkha Justice campaign, are to hold a press conference tomorrow to respond to criticism of the campaign.

From yesterday’s Independent:

Joanna Lumley today hit out at what she claimed was a Government smear campaign that saw her accused of “deathly silence” over Gurkhas’ rights.

Earlier this month, defence minister Kevan Jones expressed “irritation” with the actress amid claims that Nepalese veterans had been misled and exploited. “Her deathly silence, frankly, irritates me,” he said.

But in a letter circulated today, Ms Lumley denounced the allegations.

Signed by the actress, campaigner Peter Carroll and

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What links Colin Firth, Ken Macdonald, Brian Eno, Gurkha veteran Madan Kumar Gurung, Pam Giddy, Floella Benjamin and Duwayne Brooks?

Well, all six of them have contributed to the soon-to-be-published opus, Why Vote Liberal Democrat?, published this Thursday. To pre-order your copy from Amazon, please click here.

Here’s the party press release blurb:

Actor Colin Firth, former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald QC and musician Brian Eno have all contributed to a book entitled ‘Why Vote Liberal Democrat’. The book, which goes on sale on Thursday, covers topics as varied as fair taxes, gay rights, looking after our armed forces, political reform and the fight against climate change.

Other contributors include Gurkha veteran Madan Kumar Gurung, political reform

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NEW POLL: Who is your Liberal Voice of the Year?

Ten days ago, in the dying days of the last decade, LDV launched our search for the Liberal Voice of 2009, to find the non-Lib Dem individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in this country in the past 12 months.

Our thanks to all who put forward nominations, all of which were considered carefully by the LDV editorial collective, which has agreed to short-list the following (in no particular order):

  • Guy Herbert, general secretary of NO2ID, for his campaigning work against the database state;
  • Peter Tatchell, for his tireless and fearless international human

Posted in LDV Awards and Voice polls | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 24 Comments

Clegg: Labour U-turn “a great victory for the Gurkhas”

Here’s what the BBC has to say:

All Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years’ service will be allowed to settle in the UK, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said. Ms Smith told MPs she was “proud to offer this country’s welcome to all who have served in the brigade of Gurkhas”.

It comes after a high-profile campaign by Joanna Lumley and other supporters of Gurkha rights – and an embarrassing Commons defeat for the government.

Some 36,000 Gurkhas who left before 1997 had been denied UK residency. Ms Lumley, the actress who has been the public face

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Ros Scott on expenses

The Liberal Democrat President, Ros Scott, has emailed out the following message to party members:

It has not been a good few weeks to be a be a politician. Liberal Democrat parliamentarians have made mistakes and errors of judgement. I would like to apologise to you – the members of our party that tirelessly contribute so much to our cause – for those mistakes. At the meeting of the Federal Executive on Monday we will discuss the issues of expenses and the party’s reaction to it. I can guarantee it will be a full and frank exchange of views.

However these weeks

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And the award for most desperate headline goes to…

Kevin Maguire in the Mirror for this effort:

Lib Dem support for the Gurkhas will cost them seats

His rationale for this, erm, counter-intuitive view? Though crediting Nick Clegg’s campaigning on behalf of the Gurkhas as “principled”, Kevin then argues that his “cosying up in bed together will cost the Lib Dems seats”.

Hmmm. Quite apart from the idea that the Lib Dem leader could (even if he’d wanted to) refuse to stand on the same platform as his Tory counterpart as part of a non-partisan campaign, what’s the evidence for Kevin’s suggestion?

Well, on the one hand you have …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Martin Salter put loyalty to Brown before loyalty to the Gurkhas

Reading has a significant number of Gurkha ex-servicemen and their families, and Reading Liberal Democrats have joined some politicians from other parties, including retiring Reading West Labour MP Martin Salter, and the current Mayor of Reading Cllr Peter Beard, in campaigning for Gurkha justice and better welfare for Gurkha families.

Yesterday was an historic day for the Ghurkas. Nick Clegg’s motion to grant these brave soldiers the right to live in Britain passed by 267 votes to 246. It was a victory for justice. Clegg was absolutely right to press Gordon Brown on the moral principle at stake during PMQs- namely, …

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The Economist on the Gurkhas: “a deserved victory for the Lib Dems and their leader Nick Clegg”

My LDV colleague Richard Huzzey has already rounded-up the media’s praise for Nick Clegg’s campaigning role on behalf of the Ghurkas HERE – while Alex Foster highlighted bloggers’ encomia HERE – but it’s worth also noting The Economist’s pseudonymous columnist Bagehot’s only slightly back-handed praise for the party and its leader:

… it was a deserved victory for the Lib Dems and their leader Nick Clegg (as well as for the Gurkhas themselves, of course). Yes, Mr Clegg can seem a bit Rumpelstiltskinean at prime minister’s questions—though it is understandable that he sometimes strains too hard when it

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Ming Campbell – Gurkhas undaunted, Brown defeated

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell explains how today’s Commons defeat of the policy to restrict Gurkhas’ right to settle in the UK is another crack in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s authority:

What the government failed to appreciate was the extent of feeling within the Commons and the enormous public affection outside. The Gurkhas hold a special place in British hearts and, for once, public opinion was in favour of immigration rather than against it. …

It is wise to remember the government hasn’t fallen. But this defeat adds to the woes of a

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Brown Routed By Gurkhas: Reaction (Updated)

Today’s historic victory for the Gurkhas and an historic defeat for Gordon Brown has already been chronicled by our own Alix Mortimer. Here is the Channel 4 News report:

Nick Clegg’s superb performance at today’s PMQ already won him rave reviews, as our Alex Foster noted.

Other mentions in dispatches for the role Nick Clegg played in forcing this issue:

“Credit in particular to Nick Clegg” – The Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan

“the Liberal Democrats can feel justifiably pleased that their long game has truly paid off” – BBC’s Gary

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Lib Dem Gurkha motion won by 21 votes

Nick Clegg’s Opposition Day debate motion has passed this afternoon by 267 votes to 246 – a narrow but highly significant victory. The motion demanded that all retired Gurkhas be awarded the right to settle in the UK.

Brown seems to have a political death wish at the moment. He was on the wrong side of today’s argument and he’ll be on the wrong side tomorrow when he tries to push through his hasty YouTube mash-up of MPs expense reforms too.

More analysis when that happens – suffice it to say for the moment that

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Bloggers unanimous: Gurkha champion Clegg aced PMQs

As I type, the Lib Dems are holding the Government to account on their stance on rights for Ghurka troops to settle in the UK.

But in PMQs this afternoon, Clegg launched a blistering attack on the Prime Minister on the Ghurka issue, despite following Cameron’s similar question.

And he’s been rewarded for his efforts with a round of ace reviews from bloggers across the spectrum:

Jane Marrick: Clegg’s finest hour

But it was Clegg who played the real blinder. This was the Lib Dem leader’s best performance at PMQs. Clegg has struggled to find the right issue to get the PM on,

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Nick Clegg to lead attack on Labour’s Gurkha betrayal in Parliament

Angry doesn’t even come close.

A sickening ruling“.

Contempt for this gutless, sickening Government decision“.

The week Labour lost its last principles“.

These are just some reactions to a Government announcement today on settlement rights for Gurkhas who retired before 1997.

So what’s the story and background?

Gurkhas have served all across the world in the defence of our country for nearly 200 years. Over 45,000 died in the two World Wars as part of the British Army, and they are still fighting in the British Army today.

But until quite recently, the Gurkhas had no right to citizenship in this country after completing …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Nick Clegg, Joanna Lumley, Gurkhas

Jonathan Wallace has the all-important pictures of the latest steps in the gurkha tank justice battle.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Video: Gurkha Justice

Earlier this week, the High Court ruled in favour of Gurkhas wishing to reside in the UK. You can see some reactions to the judgement in this film from the campaign, which features, amongst others, party leader Nick Clegg.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Gurkhas win court case as Joanna Lumley launches new petition

Good news from the courts today:

A group of retired Gurkhas fighting for the right to settle in Britain have won their immigration test case at London’s High Court.

They were challenging immigration rules which said that those who retired from the British Army before 1997 did not have an automatic right to stay.

Prominent supporter actress Joanna Lumley said it was a “chance to right a great wrong”.

The government said it would now review all Gurkhas’ cases. (BBC)

Meanwhile, Joanna Lumley has today launched a new online petition to press for justice for Gurkhas – getting a promise of a review …

Posted in News | 83 Comments

Gurkha justice court case: can you help find key evidence?

Peter Carroll is asking for help:

Gurkha Justice campaigner Peter Carroll has issued an urgent plea for evidence to back up the legal team representing the Gurkhas in the current High Court hearing on the lawfulness of the 1997 ‘cut off’ date for citizenship. The case received huge coverage earlier this week when Joanna Lumley and others gave their backing to the cause.

The Gurkha’s legal team urgently (by end of Wednesday 24th September) need to find an example case of a soldier recruited directly to the British Army from a Commonwealth country to

Posted in News | 4 Comments

PMQs: Nick tackles Gordon on the Gurkhas

At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg once again took Gordon Brown to task for his Government’s shameful refusal to give justice to those Gurkha soldiers who fought for this country. (You can read more about the Lib Dems’ Gurkha Justice campaign here).

The Prime Minister twice dodged the question of the Government’s refusal to recognise the citizenship claims and pension rights of Gurkhas who retired before 1997. “We have shown how we value the Gurkhas in this country,” claimed Gordon. We have indeed.

Of course, none of this will be reported in the media, who care only for marking the party leaders out of 10 for artistic impression. On that score, Nick is growing more comfortable by the day, easily riding the pathetic heckling from the Tory and Labour benches.

But the last couple of weeks have seen surprisingly weak performances from David Cameron, who has perhaps been more discomfited by David Davis’s resignation than he would care to admit. Tories may claim this is some cunning attempt to keep Gordon Brown in Number 10: they wish. He seems to have been knocked off his stride, and it’s not gone unnoticed. Let’s see if he gets it back before the summer recess.

Anyway you can judge for yourselves below, via YouTube and Hansard:

Posted in News and PMQs | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: A Dutch take on Gurkha citizenship

I was filled with pride about our party when I saw Nick Clegg speaking to those furious Gurkha veterans outside the Houses of Parliament, and when he brandished a Gurkha medal during Prime Minister’s Questions. Gordon Brown showed himself a glorified book-keeper in his response.

From his Dutch-Indian mother, Nick could have known that the Dutch have always been somewhat more pragmatic about our “native troops” from our Asian colonies, the Dutch East Indies.

Almost the first part of present-day Indonesia the Dutch occupied was the archipelago of the Moluccas. The Moluccans started cultivating spices for our East India Company (VOC). We noticed that they were fierce fighters; so when we made the Dutch East Indies a Crown Colony and integrated it in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1816-30), we very soon mobilised Mollucan men in our Royal East Indian Army KNIL.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | 3 Comments

PMQs: Nick tackles Gordon on the Gurkhas and Iraq

The Lib Dem leader used his two questions to Gordon Brown today to highlight the issue of Gurkha soldiers who served this country being denied British citizenship; and then to ask Gordon Brown if he has any regrets about signing the cheques that paid for the Iraq war.

Two very serious issues, and as has become his custom very punchily delivered by Nick. Indeed, the level of loutish barracking to which he’s subjected by Labour and Tory MPs is an indication that his questions are hitting home – the Lib Dems’ opponents are very keen to ensure his sure-footed performances are interrupted as much as possible to make it more difficult for them to be broadcast on the news.

(Ironically, I heard a BBC journalist mention on the radio that Nick was “struggling to make himself heard” in the Commons – as if that reflected negatively on him, rather than the ill manners of those who shout out to drown him out).

Following Vince Cable’s star turns at PMQs was always going to be a tough act. It’s considerably to Nick’s credit that he’s done it seamlessly, but in his own style.

Anyway, Hansard’s record is reprinted below, so judge for yourselves:

Posted in News and PMQs | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Ruth Bright
    I liked what Daisy Cooper did about the D-Day/Rishi controversy. Reading from her Grandpa's war diary was high risk because it is so easy to sound mawkish - but...
  • Jenny Barnes
    "Every member will have had many communications by now asking them to prioritise their efforts in a specific seat." No, I haven't had any, let alone many....
  • nvelope2003
    Whatever the reason for the move to the right in some states maybe the British have seen where this leads and will reverse the trend here. One can but hope....
  • expats
    The Conservative manifesto launch was far more like the funeral for an unpopular corpse than a christening... Little about past achievements much on 'future sna...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Simon R: Comments like these are populist right-wing tropes: "The liberal left has become a shill for a failed EU establishment…" ...