John Leech has pushed for an amendment on the ‘Alan Turing Law’ which will see tens of thousands pardoned.
Former Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, has secured an agreement with the Government which will grant a posthumous pardon to tens of thousands of gay and bisexual people convicted under outdated gross indecency laws.
The architect of Alan Turing’s pardon said: “This is a deeply profound and emotional day.”
Those similarly convicted but still alive will also receive pardons if they have successfully applied for a disregard, or in future successfully apply for a disregard under the Protection of Freedoms Act.
The pardon will remove any mention of an offence from criminal record checks.
This has been a long fought campaign for John Leech who first raised the issue in the Houses of Parliament and began campaigning in 2011.
Public pressure led to the major political parties pledging to introduce the ‘Alan Turing law’ – in memory to the man Winston Churchill described as making “the single biggest contribution to the allied victory” in World War II.
In 2013, Alan Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon and an official apology by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, following the high profile campaign led by John Leech.
Alan Turing was a pioneering English computer scientist and mathematician whose groundbreaking work is thought to have brought WWII to an end four years early.
However, at a trial in 1952, Turing admitted to “acts of gross indecency” before being sentenced to chemical castration. His conviction meant he lost his security clearance and was forced to stop work at Bletchley Park.
Aged just 41, he was found dead from cyanide poisoning in 1954 with a half-eaten apple by his side. An inquiry concluded that it was suicide.
It is predicted that Turing’s work saved the lives of an estimated 14 to 21 million.
Mr Leech said Turing’s persecution “by the state for being gay was a scandal that shouldn’t have ever been allowed to stand”.
John Leech concluded: “This is an enormous step forward for LGBTQ+ history and I believe Alan Turing would be truly proud to see tens of thousands of people rightfully vindicated in his name.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron MP, added: “The Liberal Democrats continue to be the strongest voice on equality in and out of Parliament.
“This was a manifesto commitment which even in opposition, thanks to the tireless work of John Leech alongside our MPs and peers, we have been able to deliver on.”