Joanna Lumley wages war against PM Brown following 'personal attack' by minister

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London, Mar. 27 (ANI): Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley has declared war on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown following a "personal attack" by his Defence Minister Kevan Jones earlier this month.

The 63-year-old British actress expressed her outrage at Jones accusing her of "deathly silence" over the allegations that war veterans hoping to settle in UK are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds for legal advice in Nepal.

"Recent personal attacks, on me and on the lawyers responsible for the legal victory, made in the press and by a Minister under the protection of parliamentary privilege, have left us campaigners with no option but to respond through the press to set the record straight," The Daily Express quoted Lumley, as saying.

Earlier, Jones has said that he was "irritated" over the fact that Lumley, who led a victorious campaign in forcing a Government U-turn on Gurkha citizenship rights, had not spoken out following allegations that veterans' organisations in Nepal were extracting money from Gurkhas and then referring them to UK solicitors.

But Lumley said: "At the time of victory for veteran Gurkhas and their families last year, I and the -Gurkha Justice Campaign team agreed, at the direct request of the Prime Minister, to work with the Government on the Gurkha settlement policy and any issues arising out of its implementation."

"Assurances were made that the campaigners would not speak out in public but would help Government by working in the background. We have honourably kept our promise. I am now extremely concerned by reported problems that a number of Gurkhas are experiencing, not least because of pledges made by the MoD last year to set up support facilities for veterans, at our campaign's request, to deal with such problems here or in Nepal," she added.

Reacting to Lumley's comments, Jones said: "I don't think she has been involved. I more than welcome the chance to speak with her."

Gurkha veterans are planning to march in Westminster next week.

The sight of Joanna Lumley in full cry could not come at a worse time for Brown whose government lost a humiliating Commons vote on Gurkha residency rights last year. (ANI)

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