Articles

The case that led to the historic Gurkha vote yesterday in Parliament, along with other neglected details of the affair

In Governmental stupidity, Gurkhas, Justice, Media, Politics on Thursday 30th April, 2009 by Guy

I am extremely pleased that Parliament has found some of its long-missing dignity and voted — with still too small a margin — in favour of the motion to get rid of the idiotic rules that prevent Gurkhas who were discharged before the arbitrary date of the first of July 1997 from applying to settle here, and more generally to re-acclaim the obvious principle that those who fight for this country should be allowed to live in this country if they so wish. (A video and transcript of the debate can be found at theyworkforyou.com [watch out for the poignant comment left on the site by an ex-Gurkha]; the roll call of votes is available at publicwhip.org.uk. I note that my MP, James Plaskitt of the Warwick and Leamington Constituency, voted with the Government. Does he not wonder why every single member of the opposition parties, and many Labour MPs, voted differently?).

The news coverage of the event was welcome but flawed in two important ways. Firstly, it did not clearly explain the context of the vote and why it was happening; secondly, the reporters quickly became engrossed in what the defeat of the Government means for Gordon Brown’s political career and if the vote is “embarrassing” for him. This is a real shame, as otherwise the layperson who only just tuned in to the story (like me) would not understand what exactly was being achieved, or indeed just how disgraceful the Government’s actions were.

I am still reading about the background to the case using whatever primary materials are available online. I know now, for example, that the reason for the debate was that the Government had promulgated new rules for dealing with Gurkhas’ settlement claims that were somehow abysmal. But why had the Government gone to the trouble in the first place? I’m not sure of the reason for the timing, but the trigger seems to be a High Court ruling [given, if you want to be precise, in the Administrative Court of the England and Wales High Court] in September 2008. It took me a long time to find the actual judgment, because news articles of the court case neglected to link to it and because those news articles are what dominate search engine listings related to the case, but now, for the record, here it is:

Limbu & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2008] EWHC 2261 (Admin) (30 September 2008), http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/2261.html

It is well worth a read to understand just why the Gurkhas are so deserving of our support in this case and in general, and to seriously bring into question how anyone can support this current Government, which is shown in a court of law to be entirely without scruples or honour.

If I have time I would like to write more about the Gurkhas. But I can’t promise anything, sadly…

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