30 APRIL 2009

British actress Joanna Lumley, who's campaigned relentlessly for Ghurkas to have the right to reside in the UK, was in a jubilant mood this week after MPs voted unanimously against new laws which proposed that only Gurkhas with 20 years service are eligible to come to Britain.

Upon hearing the news the glamorous TV star held up a traditional kukuri knife used by the Nepalese warriors and uttered their traditional battle cry "Ayo Gorkhali", which means: "The Gurkhas are coming."

"I can't tell you the sense of elation, the sense of pride – pride in our country, pride in the democratic system, and pride in our parliament – (this gives me). We can change things," said a thrilled Joanna.

The 62-year-old became involved in the soldiers cause after revealing that the life of her father, Major James Rutherford Lumley, was saved by a Ghurkha soldier when during WWII he served in Burma with the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

Conservative leader David Cameron added: "The basic presumption that people who fight for our country should have a right to live in our country has been set out very clearly." While the vote is not legally binding, opposition leaders insist ministers must now abandon the new rules when it comes to admitting soldiers and their families.

Photo: Rex
Wearing a Ghurkha hat and brandishing a traditional kukuri knife, the Absolutely Fabulous actress joined the Nepalese soldiers and their relatives outside the House of Commons to celebrate a vote which could give all Gurkhas who have served in the British armed forces the right to live in Britain
Photo: Alpha
Joanna receives a hug from an elated Gurkha while Conservative leader David Cameron looks on
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