LONDON, April 30 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown struggled to keep his power over the Labor Party Thursday after losing a vote on letting Gurkha veterans live in Britain.
The 267-241 House of Commons vote -- Brown's first defeat in the lower house -- gives all Gurkha veterans and their families full admittance into Britain.
Only hours before, Brown told Parliament members the government couldn't afford to admit all Gurkhas, arguing that doing so would cost more than $2 billion. Despite the appeal, 27 Labor lawmakers voted with the opposition and dozens more abstained, defying orders to support the government, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Government officials said they would draw up new immigration rules, dropping curbs on admitting Gurkhas and their families and allowing all Nepalese veterans of the British army to live in Britain.
Gurkhas have served in the British army since 1815 and, collectively, have amassed battle honors including 26 Victoria Crosses, Britain's highest military decoration for valor "in the face of the enemy."
London's Daily Mirror ran an editorial in Friday's editions under the headline "Gordon Brown to go?" that said Brown had become "a major embarrassment to his party."