Brown loses bid to keep Gurkhas out

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LONDON: Joyous cries of ‘Ayo Gorkhali’ rent the air in Westminster as opposition leaders brandished the ‘khukri’ in celebrations, as the Gordon Brown government lost a motion in the House of Commons on restricting number of Gurkha veterans of the British army to settle in the UK.

Voting on a motion condemning the government’s treatment of the Gurkhas who have served in the British army for years, Lawmakers voted 267-246 in favour of a motion to scrap the rules announced last week. The Labour rebels and the Conservative Party ensured the Liberal Democrat-sponsored motion was passed.

Though the vote is not binding, Brown suffered a rare parliamentary defeat which would come as an embarrassment. The government reacted fast by announcing it would review its new plans for settlement of Gurkha soldiers in UK.

Under new rules, only Gorkhas with at least 10 years’ service are eligible to come to Britain.

PTI May 1, 2009, 01.21am IST

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