Gurkhas

One of the privileges of being an MP is that every now and again we get to correct injustice and take a stand for something that we believe is important.

The vote in the Commons this week on the right of ex-Gurkha soldiers to live in the UK, when Gordon Brown suffered a major defeat over their shameless treatment by this Government, was one of those occasions.

Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for nearly two centuries, serving in two World Wars, the Gulf and the Falklands.  I vividly remember as a teenager watching the reports of the Gurkha's role in that conflict.

Only last month 120 of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles returned from their six-month tour of Afghanistan, where two of their number were killed last November.   Since their formation in 1815 over 45,000 Gurkhas have given their lives in service of our country.

I believe that this great loyalty, bravery and commitment should be rewarded.  The High Court recently agreed that Gurkhas should be allowed to settle here, but the Government's recent shoddy compromise would have placed so many restrictions on settlement that some campaigners have suggested that as few as 100 would gain the right to live here.

To most of us this was plain wrong.  Of course we need a controlled immigration system, but it's pretty rich of this Government, which has licensed completely uncontrolled immigration, to complain about a few thousand veterans who choose to make Britain their home.

We should not turn our backs on those who have risked their lives for us.  I know that many local people feel the same way because so many felt moved to write to me, many with personal stories of their own time spent serving with the Gurkhas or the experiences of their parents.

One constituent simply wrote: "they did their bit for us, we must do our bit for them".  I couldn't agree more.

Michelle Taylor