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Number 10: David Cameron will ‘look’ at pardoning gay sex offences

March 3, 2015

Downing Street has responded to Labour’s pledge of support for a campaign to pardon men convicted of gross indecency under anti-gay laws by saying David Cameron will look “carefully” at the issue.

Relatives of gay WWII codebreaker Alan Turing delivered a petition to Downing Street last week calling for the 49,000 men convicted under the discredited crime of gross indecency to be pardoned.

A poll by YouGov last week found two thirds of the public believe the UK Government should pardon all men convicted under the legislation.

Earlier today Labour leader Ed Miliband told GT (Gay Times) that, if elected Prime Minister, he would make the matter a priority.

He said: “I think it’s worth saying that we DO want to extend the principles being applied to Alan Turing and his family, to be able to say to others who were convicted of a criminal offence simply because of the person that they loved – whether they are alive or no longer alive – that we can get a pardon for them.”

Proponents of a pardon want the measure applied on a case-by-case basis, using modern consent laws to evaluate whether people should be pardoned.

People with historic gay sex convictions who are still alive can already have them expunged under 2012’s Protection of Freedoms Act – but records cannot be expunged posthumously.

The Liberal Democrats last week pledged support for the campaign.

Asked whether David Cameron would back the campaign, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The government has taken action on this with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

“It was under this government that action was taken with this act, it was under this government that Mr Turing received a pardon via Royal Prerogative and the Prime Minister will always look carefully at what can continue to be done to right past wrongs.

“There is a petition on this issue, we have taken action and will continue to look at the matter.”

The Queen granted a rare posthumous pardon in 2013 to Alan Turing, under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

More: Alan Turing, anti-gay law, anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Downing Street, England, gay codebreaker Alan Turing, gross indecency, homophobic law, homophobic laws, pardon, Prime Minister, Prime Minister David Cameron

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