newspapers are dying - I very rarely read one on paper these days, and His Master's Voice is soon to shuffle off the mortal coil. It has now published the following two letters, which I republish here as a reminder of what happened. Mr Salter has been making a lot of noise in the Home Affairs Select Committee to try to drown out the chorus of disapproval of his pusillanimous, cowardly both-ways-at-once stance in yelling and shouting in the media about supporting the Gurkhas but then abstaining in the parliamentary vote because he "didn't want to vote against the government", but there are still those of us with ears to hear:
Gurkhas should be fast tracked to stay
By abstaining from the Commons vote on Gurkhas’ rights Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West, betrayed the people he claims to represent.
As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gurkhas’ Rights he wrote to fellow Labour MPs urging them to sign up to the revolt.
He said: “This is a moral issue and far more important than narrow party political squabbling. This is about doing the right thing by people who risked their lives for us.”
Then he abstained from voting, betraying all those who supported him.
Thankfully other Labour Party rebels were morally stronger and the result was an all party coalition that defeated the Government’s plans.
The Government lost the vote in the House of Commons by 267 to 246, the first time a government has lost an opposition day debate since 1978. One ministerial aide, Stephen Pound, resigned from the Government to vote with the rebels, saying “I couldn’t look my Gurkha friends in the eye if I wasn’t doing everything I can to attempt to match their contribution to our country with our support for them.”
Madan Kumar Gurung, 57, from Reading, served as a Gurkha for 24 years.
He said the result was a “historic victory” for the Gurkhas and “I would like to thank the loving and lovely people of Britain form the bottom of my Gurkha heart. Having fought so hard it is a great feeling to know that my colleagues will be able to stay here.”
The Green Party supports Gurkhas and their families. Rob White put a motion to last year’s conference which achieved overwhelming support.
Gurkhas have played an active front line part in the British Army’s activities in times of war and peace for nearly 200 years. In this period approximately 300,000 have fought alongside United Kingdom soldiers with the loss of 45,000 of them.
Gurkhas and their families should be given fast track eligibility for either the right to remain or for citizenship.
You can read more about this issue at www.gurkhajustice.org.uk
Reading Green Party
Despite his fine words MP abstained in vote
Recently Reading West MP Martin Salter has been speaking eloquently and emotionally in support of Gurkhas’ residence rights, having made himself chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gurkhas’ rights.
Despite talking the talk, Martin again showed he wasn’t up to walking the walk. On April 29 he abstained in a Commons vote on a motion supporting Gurkhas’ settlement rights.
The 27 Labour rebels who joined with the opposition to defeat the Government included a ministerial aide who resigned his role to support the revolt.
In contrast, after all his fine words, Mr Salter couldn’t bring himself to put his vote where his mouth was despite not even having anything to lose as he is standing down as an MP.
Backing the Gurkhas? With his cowardice and hypocrisy Martin isn’t even worth a gherkin.