A PASTOR has branded Britain's immigration system "hypocritical" for allowing Islamic militants to remain in the country but stopping a Commonwealth war veteran from moving here to be with family.
Pastor John Angliss, from the South of Reading Christian Fellowship, was speaking in support of Australian citizen Graham Moss, 64. The Vietnam War veteran wants to move to Calcot to join daughter Kerrie-Ann Cassidy, son-in-law Colin and grandchildren Eden, 11, Elijah, 12, and Isaac, 13 - who moved here in 2003 and are all naturalised.
Graham makes regular six month trips to be with his relatives but has been denied a permanent visa and has lost subsequent appeals. During his visits he has become a popular member of the Three Mile Cross church.
Mr Angliss, who was speaking yesterday as the Government came under increasing pressure to defy European courts and deport terror suspect Abu Qatada, said: "It just seems so unfair that a man who belongs to the Commonwealth and has served Queen and country cannot get permission to remain, when we have all these criminal Islamic militants being allowed to stay."
The pastor said Graham, who is divorced with few family ties in Australia, has been a credit to the church, adding: "He is valuable both practically and spiritually, a very useful man to have. The galling thing is, he is no drain on the UK because he receives a Vietnam War pension which will continue to be paid no matter where he lives in the world."
Kerrie-Ann said the only category which her dad was able to apply for - retiree of independent means - has since been abolished and argues that the case is unique and the Government should use its discretion.
Graham, who has no criminal convictions, was an infantryman and later a Reserves commando officer. He has also worked as a prison officer in his homeland and won medals as a volunteer bush fire fighter.
Son-in-law Colin added: "He has been prepared to lay his life down as a subject of The Queen in the Australian Army. Graham's allegiance as an Australian is to God, Queen and country and it is a source of great sadness and disappointment that Britain has thus far refused Graham a visa of indefinite leave to remain."