THE IRON LUMLEY! or Why Joanna's Just as Tough as Maggie

Article excerpt

Byline: Platell People

THE magnificent figure storming through the BBC's Westminster offices to defend the Gurkhas was as fearless as any picturebook warrior. All the Queen of the Gurkhas was missing was a mighty steed.

Or perhaps that should be her Steed. For if Joanna Lumley had been ten years younger, I suspect she would have put that New Avengers training to good use and 'done a Purdey' on the Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, karate-kicking him into the Thames as he attempted to wriggle out of a commitment to give the Gurkhas the deal they deserve.

Certainly, La Lumley scored a direct hit on what remains of the Prime Minister's credibility when she shamed him into a face-to-face meeting after he failed to reply to her three letters.

The result? On Wednesday the PM offered private guarantees that these brave soldiers would be able to stay in the UK. 'I trust him, I rely upon him and I know he has now taken the matter into his own hands,' Lumley said -- and the nation's heart sank.

Sure enough, no sooner had the words left her lips than Brown's office was denying any new deal had been put in place.

So Lumley kept going. 'I feel absolutely confident Gordon Brown is going to do the right thing for the Gurkhas,' she said. …