By Rebecca Evans and Sanjay Jha
21st October 2011
The Prime Minister’s Nepalese nanny was a virtual slave for the family of a foreign diplomat in London before being rescued by the Camerons, the Mail can reveal.
Samantha Cameron recruited Gita Lama from a charity that helps abused domestic workers after she had fled the employment of an unknown Muslim family who refused to pay her.
Yet even though she has been an integral member of the Cameron household for the past eight years, her identity was unknown until last week when she was thrust into the spotlight after critics of the Government’s immigration policy said that if proposed changes to visa rules had been in place, she would not have been able to get the job in the first place.
They say the law change would mean migrant workers such as Mrs Lama would be unable to work for anyone other than the employer who brought them into Britain, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.
Mrs Lama lived with the Camerons at their home in Notting Hill, West London, before joining them in Downing Street after David Cameron, 45, became Prime Minister last year.
She is said to be ‘much loved’ for the care she gave to the Camerons’ son Ivan, who was born with cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy and died in February 2009.
Mrs Lama, 32, was on leave with her family in Nepal at the time of Ivan’s death, but such was the Camerons’ affection for their nanny that they phoned and asked for her to return for their six-year-old son’s funeral.
The Mail tracked down Mrs Lama’s family to Arubari, a remote village in the Kathmandu valley, where they live in a £65,000 house paid for largely thanks to money she sends them.
Gita Lama’s parents live in a £65,000 house in Arubari, a remote village in the Kathmandu valley paid for largely from money she sends them
Her father Bhim Bahadur Lama told yesterday of her ‘deep and sentimental bond’ with Mr Cameron, his wife and their children Nancy, seven, Arthur Elwen, five, and one-year-old Florence.
But he revealed that before she joined the Camerons, she was employed by a Muslim diplomat in London shortly after arriving in the capital 12 years ago.
Mr Lama, 55, who runs a small shop from his two-storey home, said that while his daughter was not physically abused, she was not paid a salary and was given only lodging and food.
She left the job and contacted the London-based charity Kalayaan, with which the Camerons had advertised to find a nanny.
‘Thanks to her experience as a nanny and her good language skills, the Camerons hired her,’ said Mr Lama.
Her brother Pemba Lama, 25, said: ‘The Cameron family . . . are very kind to her and if they had not treated her well, she would not have stayed there for as long as she has.’
Her mother Thuli Lama, 60, added: ‘She is very happy with the Camerons and we are very proud of our daughter.’
Mrs Lama, who has another brother and an older sister, is understood to have applied to stay in Britain permanently, but it is not clear what stage the process has reached.
Five years ago she married hotel supervisor Pawan Lama, who is also from Nepal.Tags: David and Sam Cameron, Kalayaan, Nepalese Nanny, The Prime Minister