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Commons debate on new Gurkha rules today

Former Gurkhas protest in Folkestone in February.
Former Gurkhas protest in Folkestone in February.

Gordon Brown could face a challenge today to his decision to limit the numbers of Gurkha veterans who can settle in the UK.

The Liberal Democrats have secured a debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

The party is putting forward a motion for a relaxation of the new rules - which were announced on Friday - and is calling for support from Labour rebels.

The Government's announcement was met with widespread disappointment.

~ Audio: Madan Gurung, a former Gurkha Lieutenant who lived in Maidstone and Folkestone, says the Government needs to listen to the people >>>

It claims around 4,000 out of 36,000 who served in the armed forces prior to July 1997 would benefit - but opponents argue the figure is actually around 100 and have called the rules a betrayal.

The the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles are based at the Sir John Moore barracks in Shorncliffe, near Folkestone.

• Related article: 'Sick to my core' - Lumley attacks new Gurkha rules >>>

Meanwhile, a Kent Conservative MP says his party would not support allowing all of the Gurkhas to settles in the UK - but he described the Government's approach as "shabby".

Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury, said: "Clearly there have to be some limits, we can't simply give a blank cheque to everybody who's served in the armed forces ever.

"But we're proposing to allow, in an orderly fashion, a military category for immigration and I think most people in this country would support that."

~ Audio: Julian Brazier talks about how the Conservatives would approach the Gurkha settlement issue >>>

He accused the Government of being "weak" on immigration and claims it has chosen the wrong target to get tough.

"I take a very tough line on immigration but this is a government that has allowed very large numbers of unskilled workers to pore into the UK," he said.

"It's also been extremely weak about deporting failed asylum seekers. Yet it has taken a tough line on these brave individuals who have given good service to this country."

Madan Gurung, a former Gurkha Lieutenant who lived in Maidstone and Folkestone, expressed his gratitude towards the people of Britain for their support for the Gurkhas' cause.

“We feel grateful to the loving people of Great Britain who have been supporting the Gurkhas so well for such a long time. But I don’t know why the government is not listening to the voice of the people.

“We feel very thankful to all the people who have supported us...all the Gurkhas would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts,” Mr Gurung added.

• For more news from Ashford, Folkestone, Hythe and Tenterden visit kentishexpress.co.uk >>>

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