From Sunday Mirror Up to 800 Gurkha troops could be axed from the Army as part of a series of savage defence cuts. An entire battalion of the Nepalese troops is expected to go. The cut would be part of a wider slashing of the Â£34billion defence budget, which has risen steadily since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The dramatic improvements in Gurkha pay and pension rights in the past two years mean it is too expensive to maintain two infantry battalions. The regiment only survived cuts five years ago because their poor pay and pensions made them good value for money. But senior officers say that new rulings giving them better pensions mean they are vulnerable in a wide-ranging defence review. In the High Court earlier this year all Gurkhas won the right to be allowed to remain in Britain after serving - and their pay was brought up to the same level as the regular Army. The campaign led by actress Joanna Lumley had forced Gordon Brown into a humiliating U-turn. But it left the Government with a huge bill for improving pensions for those settling in Britain. Last night a senior military source said: "If it comes to cutting infantry battalions, the Gurkhas are now No1 on the list. "They were only saved from the axe in the last defence cuts because they were seen as being fantastic value for money. Although they are very well-recruited and very good soldiers, they are now no less expensive than any other unit.