Friday, 8 May 2009

Celebrity politics that hurts

Actress Joanna Lumley's campaign to let retired Gurkha soldiers live in the United Kingdom continues to grow with it being the page one splash in the London Evening Standard and the Guardian.
The Guardian describes the government's pollcy towards the Gurkhas as having descended into a potentially hugely expensive shambles yesterday after the actor Joanna Lumley extracted fresh concessions in an extraordinary live television confrontation with the home office minister Phil Woolas.
The actor, who has been a powerful champion for the Gurkhas as they have fought through the courts and parliament, exploited Home Office heavy-handedness to demand assurances from a sheepish Woolas after five former Gurkhas received letters from the home office apparently telling them they did not qualify to settle in Britain.
The letters arrived only a day after Gordon Brown at prime minister's questions and in a private meeting with Lumley had promised their cases would be reviewed, and insisted he was taking personal charge of the issue.
Brown had not known about the letters and was only informed of their existence by Lumley who tartly spoke of "a gap in communications inside government", and her sense of personal shock.
See earlier story "A Gurkha victory."
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