Statement on the Gurkhas

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): I thank the Home Secretary for an excellent statement. I pay tribute to her, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Borders and Immigration for what they have done, especially over the past few days. The right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) is absolutely right: this is a good day for Parliament, because Opposition parties were also part of the process, in informing the Government of what was happening. The seminar on Tuesday, at which people could sit down privately and work things out, was possible only because the Minister for Borders and Immigration invited us.

I have one final recommendation. I do not know what the Home Secretary’s travel plans are, but may I suggest that she go to Kathmandu, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, West (Martin Salter)—I do not know whether Joanna Lumley will be there—when those visas are issued to see the joy on the faces of those to whom she has given justice today and thank Joanna Lumley for the wonderful work that she has done?

Jacqui Smith: I certainly believe that, as my right hon. Friend has said, the work facilitated by the Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday, with the input of officials across Government, Gurkha representatives and members of the Committee has been very important in providing us with the basis for the proposals, on which it has been possible to move forward today confident that we can fulfil our duty to the Gurkhas in line with our responsibility to taxpayers and our broader immigration policy. I thank him for his leadership in bringing that forward.

I am always slightly wary of accepting invitations to travel anywhere with my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, West, great though he has been in this campaign.