Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit has been criticised by the Lib Dem MP John Leech for stating that it would set a “dangerous precedent” to pardon gay codebreaker Alan Turning.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, Lord Tebbit, said the logic behind the proposed pardon could be used to “posthumously convict men of crimes for acts that were not criminal when they were committed, but would be if they were committed today”.
John Leech, the Lib Dem MP for South Manchester has proposed the pardon as part of a private members’ bill. It has been co-sponsored in the House of Lords by the Lib Dem peer Lord Sharkey.
The bill passed its third reading in the Lords on Wednesday. On the 29 of November, Mr Leech will propose the bill to be given a second reading in the House of Commons.
Criticising Lord Tebbit’s remarks on Friday, Mr Leech told PinkNews.co.uk: “Lord Tebbit’s argument is just plain wrong. There have been 698 pardons since 1982. I can’t remember Lord Tebbit making this argument against any of those”.
He continued: “Alan Turing is a hero to many who saved thousands of lives during World War II. This pardon is righting a wrong and is the right thing to do”.
Mr Bercow said the treatment of Turing, who convicted for being gay and later committed suicide, was “painful, demeaning and dehumanising”.
“The conviction and sentencing of Alan Turing – an innocent man – was a thoroughly shameful episode in our country’s history. As well as the physical pain Turing experienced, he was deprived of a most fundamental human instinct: to love, and to be loved”, he said.
At Prime Minister’s Questions last month, David Cameron said: “Clearly what happened to [Turing] was completely wrong and now, looking back, everyone can see that—everybody knows that. I am very happy to look at the specific issue of the pardon”.
In 2009, after a campaign led by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell and supported by PinkNews.co.uk, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issue an apology for Turing’s treatment on behalf of the British government.