A shamed government has been brought crashing to its knees by the Gurkhas, as a deadly alliance of Tory, LibDem and Labour MPs threw out minister's indecent plans and cast further doubts on Brown's authority.
In what New Labour feared most, a deadly alliance of Tories, LibDems and backbench Labour MPs rounded on the fag-end of a government on an issue which has the backing of the whole country.
Cries of 'resign' from some and gasps from others echoed round the chamber as the ayes were announced.
MPs voted by 267 to 246 in favour of a LibDem motion that all Gurkhas should be offered an equal right of residence.
The humiliating defeat in the commons will send shock waves through Westminster as the government's hard-nosed policy of restricting the right of former Gurkhas to settle in the UK was rounded on as a shameful disgrace.
What a useless pair they are - a deluded Brown and his hapless home secretary. Fancy picking a fight with the Gurkhas. MPs and the whole country had united over a regiment which is so dear to the hearts and respected by everyone.
This Dad's Army bunch of ministers and pay-roll MPs led by corporal Brown deserved their comeuppance. According to Lib Dems, some 28 Labour MPs along with Tories voted for their motion to scrap "shameful" rules, despite last minute clumsy concessions offered to rebel Labour MPs, with a high number of abstentions swinging the vote.
The defeat is also a further nail in the coffin for two homes secretary Smith, who's already facing fury over her expenses fiddles and the heavy-handed handling of the Damian Green home office scandal.
As Brown's power ebbs away, he faces a further test tomorrow as MP's vote on what's left of his muddled MPs' expenses non-solution.
In a rare sight, Clegg and Cameron looked relaxed together, with a delighted Clegg saying: "This is an immense victory on a series of fronts: for the rights of Gurkhas who have been waiting so long for justice, a victory for Parliament, a victory for decency."
Cameron said it was "embarrassing" for the prime minister because his efforts to strike a "shoddy deal" with Labour rebels had failed.
A mere 36,000 former Gurkhas have been denied residency because they served in the British army before 1997. The home office reckoned new rules would allow just 4,300 more to settle but the Gurkha Justice Campaign said it would be more like a paltry 100.
Brown should have heeded the warning from Army chiefs over the Gurkhas: I don't know what they'll do to the enemy but they sure scare the hell out of me.
Picture: A rose between two thorns. Clegg and Cameron with Gurkha Avenger Joanna Lumley outside Parliament