Mike Thornton MP has joined the campaign to open up the Reserves to retired Gurkhas, so they have the chance to lead the way in making the future Reserve forces more skilled and stronger than ever.
As Nepalese citizens, the well-respected Gurkhas do not currently have a Reserve liability, unlike other soldiers.
Alongside former Defence Minister Nick Harvey, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton is calling on the Ministry of Defence to retain the Gurkhas’ unique skills by allowing them to join the Regular Reserve, in recognition of their service.
As part of the Regular Reserves they can lead the way in building the Territorial Army and the Regular Reserve into the new Future Reserves. This will send a strong signal that the new, rejuvenated Reserve force is more robust and deployment-ready than ever.
Commenting, Mike Thornton said:
"Gurkhas are one of the most well-respected and revered parts of our Army. They deserve the opportunity to join the Reserves, as any other soldier would have, when they retire. For no particular reason, we don’t routinely recruit them into the Reserves."
"How better to build on the Gurkhas’ legacy in the Army than extending the same Reserve Liability as other soldiers receive, and offering them the possibility of a second Army career as a Reservist?"
"We’ve got to strengthen our Reserves if the Army is to meet future security challenges. Here in Eastleigh we have a proud Gurkha tradition. Gurkhas already contribute so much in their service to our country – the MoD must go further to retain their unique skills."
The MoD plans to fully integrate 30,000 fully-trained Reserves into the Regular Army by 2020.