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This just in:

Eddie Mair | 16:20 UK time, Friday, 1 June 2007

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said today: "The circumstances surrounding Tul Bahadur Pun's case are clearly exceptional, and in the light of this the Home Secretary, John Reid, and I have reviewed the case and made the decision to grant Mr Pun a settlement visa immediately.

"This decision was not taken lightly and reflects the extraordinary nature of this case, in particular Mr Pun's heroic record in service of Britain which saw him awarded the Victoria Cross. It is entirely right that this record should not only be recognised but honoured.

"There has always been scope to grant settlement in the UK to ex-Gurkhas who have retired before July 1997, and who do not meet the requirements in the immigration rules. As on this occasion, discretion may be exercised on a case by case basis. We have also taken into consideration his current medical condition."

Comments

  1. At 04:22 PM on 01 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    I should think so too!

  2. At 04:32 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Mark Ford wrote:

    Quite right too!

    It's a disgrace that this case needed ministerial intervention; Mr Pun shouldn't have had to jump through hoops to get the care he so clearly deserves from this country

  3. At 04:55 PM on 01 Jun 2007, eric wrote:

    Mark Ford (2)

    "It's a disgrace that this case needed ministerial intervention;"

    Not quite, his case should have fast-tracked "upstairs" for "political" evaluation, not dealt wirth as an administrative commonplace.
    That way Mr. Pun could have received attention without becoming an attraction. I trust he will not be adversely affected by the publicity.

    Well Done! Everyone.

  4. At 04:59 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    All I know about the Ghurkas who served Britain so well is that their service has not been rewarded, in whatever way, appropriately.

    So forgive me if I'm being naive.

    But this sounds like good news, perhaps a bit late, and probably a precedent for similar recognition.

    btw, I'm still at a loss as to why the survivors of Japanese cruelty during WWII are seemingly swept under the carpet. Or at least their ordeal seems to have been. But, again, I may be wrong.

  5. At 05:06 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Val P wrote:

    Hear, hear. Why does unfairness need to be "exposed" before the decent thing gets done?

  6. At 05:13 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    We owed and owe him a debt we can't repay. The least we can do is give him the right to come here.

    "There has always been scope" to do this -- so why the blazes did he have to wait?

  7. At 05:30 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Bill Braham wrote:

    Good on you Liam Byrne! I do not usually have much good to say for members of the government but this is an exception.

    What a pity there had to be a public outcry to achieve it though.

  8. At 05:43 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Alan Thornton wrote:

    This report moved me to make my first electronic response to PM.
    I hope this man will be made aware of the great
    feelings of respect and affection, those of us
    who remember the debt we owe them have.
    He should have an hour guard present arms on
    his arrival in Britain.

  9. At 07:27 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Donald Mackay wrote:

    I fully agree that it is a disgrace that he was re-fused entry in thr first place. If he hadn't proved his connection with the UK, what was he doing fighting for us. Indeed, why did we expect him too. It is yet another indication of this Govern-ment's treatment of our brasve Gurkha soldiers, and I'm glad that we have rectified the error. I do, howewer, believe that whoever took the ori-ginal decision should be sacked.

  10. At 07:46 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Sue Avery wrote:

    I was upset and ashamed to be British when I heard of the plight of brave Mr Pun last night.
    The relief was wonderful this evening when I heard that a visa would be issued immediatly. People complain about the press, thank goodness it was the media that picked this up.My only complaint is that we didn't know about this last November, when Mr Pun was refused.
    We need a private jet to collect him,he should stay in luxurious surroundings and receive the best care we are able to give. And receive a heros welcome.

  11. At 08:03 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Paul Hubbard wrote:

    If, as Mr Byrne says,

    "There has always been scope to grant settlement in the UK to ex-Gurkhas who have retired before July 1997, and who do not meet the requirements in the immigration rules."

    what pressure was the civil servant under not to explore this scope, use discretion, and act honorably in this case?

  12. At 09:36 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Piper wrote:

    The Ghurkha's have for many, many years, served this country, bravely, and unconditionaly... They are, truly, brave people.

    The Ghurka's are a supremely loyal (to Britain), highly patriotic and a justifiably proud people. Their military reputation and commitment is unparalleled in modern history.

    Not so long ago, if I remember correctly,there was uproar because the "British Government" was attempting to "short-change" these wonderful soldiers over their pension rights.

    Now, the ultimate, ultimate, insult... To both the Ghurkha's and, I believe the majority of British people.

    A most distinguished soldier. A holder of Britain's highest military award for bravery, a VC (and bravery comes no higher) is denied medical treatment by the country he loyaly, unconditionally and fearlessly served.

    Why? because he hadn't clearly demonstrated his..? His what..?!

    I agree with Mark Ford (2). The very need for ministerial intervention is a disgrace. An utter disgrace, I believe, to the majority of the British people who, our Government is supposed to represent.

    Perhaps, this is the ultimate insult!

    What kind of people do we have "representing" us, who cannot clearly see that soldiers who fought for us (let alone VC holders) like Bahadur Pun, have a moral and inherent right to our protection and care in THEIR HOUR OF NEED?

    Increasingly, I'm becoming ashamed of being British.

    There are NO further lessons to be learned...

    EVERYONE, at approval level, involved in the denial of entry to the UK of this soldier should, I feel, be dismissed, including Liam Byrne. Not allowed to resign. Dismissed.

    The immigration minister has been aware of the facts of this case for some considerable time, as indeed have most foreign office senior officials and the Prime Minister - both of them.

    Without the BBC, UK Press, and public opinion, I wonder, what would the outcome of this case have been? This is not, surely, the way to run a fair and democratic country which we claim to be.

    How much are we spending daily on the Iraq war..?

    In reality, how little will this hero, Bahadur Pun's treatment cost the UK taxpayers..?

    Oh, so that's why he was denied entry. I see...

  13. At 12:53 PM on 02 Jun 2007, Janice Dreisbach wrote:

    The item highlights an area of complacency - it is not unusual to believe that civil servants are civil and reasonable people and that any one person attempting to interpret the rules and regulations which govern our lives in such an inhumane way would be disciplined.

    Forget it. There is little humanity left in the corridors of power in this country and it doesn't seem to matter how little power the person is able to wield.

  14. At 12:43 PM on 03 Jun 2007, Piper wrote:

    ...and in a similar vein, I read in today's "Guardian":

    "The BBC's news division, which employs around 2,000 journalists, has been asked to find savings of 5 per cent a year for the next five years, according to senior sources. Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General is demanding the cuts following the government's decision in January to award the corporation a below-inflation licence fee increase, starting from April this year, instead of the inflation plus 2.3 per cent settlement the BBC asked for".

    Still, on the bright side, we can still spend, HOW MUCH every day on the Iraq war..?! How's that funded I wonder..?

    But, we shouldn't worry. There are doubtless billions of pounds still to be saved refusing UK entry to more Ghurka soldiers; refusing more patients cancer treatment drugs oh, and increasing the numbers of Alzheimers patients for whom the NHS can't find the £15 a-week required for drug treatment.

    Incidentally, did I mention we can still afford (it would seem) the cost of the Iraq war..? How's that funded I wonder..?

    And, with a future based on the absence of reliable un-biased news analysis and reporting, who knows, maybe we'll start to believe what the Governement tells us...

    Assuming we get to hear of what they're up-to, at all...

    Of course, I blame Eddie and the team. Clearly, they've been pushing Government Ministers too hard to get to the truth... A strange concept that, to many. In Government. The truth that is...

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