THERE has been general approval of the decision by Britain's High Court to instruct the government to “revisit” its ruling that British Army Gurkhas who retired before 1997 do not have the “necessary strong ties to the UK” which the Home Office requires before allowing these soldiers to settle in Britain.

Until 1997 Gurkhas were based in Hong Kong but those serving since then are based in Britain and have an automatic right to settle after four years service. The palpable injustice of such a distinction was revealed when a Home Office lawyer argued to the High Court that “having a Victoria Cross is not necessarily a strong tie bringing the entry application within the policy.” Two of the five Gurkhas who brought the test case to the High Court were holders of the VC. The Court's judgement described the government's policy as “irrational and unlawful” -- something of an understatement! The loyalty which the Gurkhas of Nepal have shown to Britain for 200 years is well-known and unchallenged. It beggars belief that the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office would between them devise such inappropriate, demeaning and insulting conditions for these soldiers' entry to Britain after service -- many of those affected had fought in the Falklands and the Gulf. It is not clear which ministers approved these conditions, but they should be named. The future of Des Browne at the Ministry of Defence must also be in question after this latest evidence of his poor judgement.