Climbdown on plans to charge Afghan interpreters to stay in UK

The Defence Secretary today insisted Afghan interpreters who served alongside British troops should be allowed to stay in the UK.

Gavin Williamson intervened in the row after it emerged many of those who helped with the fight against the Taliban face being ejected from the UK unless they pay the government over £2,000.

More than 150 interpreters have written to the Home Secretary complaining that they are being asked for thousands of pounds to secure an indefinite right to remain in the UK.

Gavin Williamson, pictured visiting a military exercise in Salisbury, has intervened in the row over Afghan interpreters' right to remain in the UK

Gavin Williamson, pictured visiting a military exercise in Salisbury, has intervened in the row over Afghan interpreters' right to remain in the UK

Mr Williamson chatted with troops after he watched them on exercises in Salisbury today

Mr Williamson chatted with troops after he watched them on exercises in Salisbury today

Handed a five-year visa to seek sanctuary in Britain in 2014 - which is set to expire next year - the interpreters said the Home Office has yet to confirm if they can stay, leaving them 'in limbo'.

But Mr Williamson told the BBC: 'These are people who have served alongside our armed forces and they have done so much ... so we have made it absolutely clear they should be staying in this country.'

It is understood an agreement is close between the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to waive the charges and allow them to remain in the UK.

Mr Williamson said: 'We want to do everything we can do to make sure they are able to do that, and we have been in touch with the Home Office making that position clear, and I am quite confident the Home Office will be supporting us and making sure that happens as quickly as possible.'

The

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