British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under pressure to scrap rules barring Gurkhas from Britain after the Government suffered an embarrassing Commons defeat – only Labour’s fourth since the party came to power in 1997.
Brown and his Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas “paid a heavy price for attempting to introduce guidelines preventing thousands of veterans who had risked their lives for this country settling here with their families”, said the Daily Mail today.
In a sign of his faltering authority, a total of 27 Labour MPs rebelled, including a ministerial aide who quit. Following a heated two-hour debate called by the Lib Dems, MPs voted to scrap the rules by 267 to 246.
The result, whilst not binding on the Government, sends out a clear message to Mr Brown that he urgently needs to rethink the Home Office guidelines amidst widespread public anger.
The result was announced amid shouts for Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who is responsible for immigration rules, to resign.
The Labour rebels included Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz ministerial aide Stephen Pound and former cabinet minister Andrew Smith.
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