MPs to launch Gurkha inquiry

The BBC has learned that MPs are to launch a full scale inquiry into all grievances of Gurkha veterans. The inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gurkha Rights is understood to have the blessing of the prime minister.

The MPs will start taking evidence soon and report in the new year. They will consider not only pensions, but also health care, benefits, allowances and what are seen as other historic grievances.

The inquiry is expected to pave the way for a Gurkha veteran to end his hunger strike outside Downing Street where he is protesting against his pension arrangements.

Gyanraj Rai, 55, a veteran from the Nepalese Brigade, has been on hunger strike since 7 November and is reportedly very weak.

Although in recent years Gurkhas have similar pensions to other members of the armed forces, those who served before 1997 receive substantially smaller pensions.

The deal was brokered by the Conservative MP for Reading East Rob Wilson. The hunger striker currently lives in Berkshire and is his constituent.