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Gurkhas (63Rd Brigade)

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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29.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the 63rd Brigade of Gurkhas is to be stationed in this country; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) on 24th March.

But can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether or not it is the case that these Gurkhas—who are recruited in Nepal, where there is a poverty which is completely unknown in this country despite the large sums of money which we pay to King Mahendra for the purpose of getting these soldiers—when they are stationed here will be paid the rate paid to our own soldiers? Is it the case that they are coming here basically because of the failure of his recruiting campaign?

No. The Gurkhas will be a welcome accession to the Strategic Reserve, and I think in general the presence of these fine troops in this country will be widely welcomed.

Will my hon. Friend agree that in view of the magnificent record of the Gurkha Brigade——

—these soldiers will be very welcome in this country and will be a great accession to our armed strength not only in this country but overseas as well, and that we should welcome them in every possible respect?

May I ask the Under-Secretary of State not to be misled by the people behind him? Will he answer the supplementary I have put to him? Are these soldiers, whom we respect, of course—there is no personal attack in this——

—to be paid the same rate and given the same conditions and the same treatment as British soldiers in this country?