Defence minister blamed for “playing politics” to spoil Gurkha campaigner’s name
11th March 2010: British Defence Minister Kevan Jones is in the line of fire for “playing politics” to make murky British actress-cum-Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley’s name.
He has come under criticism after he accused Joanna Lumley of "deathly silence" over the allegations that war veterans hoping to settle in UK were being forced to pay hundreds of pounds for legal advice in Nepal.
Kieran O’Rourke of the Gurkha Justice Campaign told the Daily Express it was disgraceful they were using politics to spoil her name after all she has done.
Jones had earlier claimed irritation over the fact that the actress, after leading the victorious campaign on Gurkha citizenship rights, had maintained silence following allegations that veterans’ organisations in Nepal were extracting money from Gurkhas and then referring them to UK solicitors.
The British actress had only recently bagged the “Oldie of the Year” award for her unrelenting crusade for Gurkhas’ rights (https://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/news-joanna_lumley_bags_award_for_gurkha_rights_crusade_1497.html)
The award is annually conferred upon older individuals for a range of efforts by Humorous monthly magazine, The Oldie.
In a major victory for some 36,000 Gurkhas, the British Government had in May last announced that those veterans, who retired before July 1997 from the army, will be allowed to settle down in the UK.
Announcing the new policy in the House of Commons, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had asserted all Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years’ service will be allowed to settle in the UK.