Sam Gyimah

Conservative minister Sam Gyimah spoke for so long that bill offering pardon for those convicted for abolished crimes ran out of time.

There were cries of ‘shame’ in the House of Commons as a Conservative MP filibustered the proposal presented by SNP MP John Nicolson, to ensure his plans were thrown out without a vote.

The Government announced on Thursday plans for thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of out-of-date offences to be posthumously pardoned.

But Mr Nicolson brought forward a private member’s bill which sought to go even further, proposing an automatic pardon for the living too.

The Justice Minister claimed the government was working on separate pardon laws with safeguards to stop people guilty of crimes that still exist today, like paedophiles and rapists, being cleared by accident.

He said: “Yes, we all want a pardon. Yes, we all want to right the wrongs of the past. But we cannot do that without having… safeguards. I believe to do that would be irresponsible on the part of the government.”

But SNP backbencher John Nicolson, who led today’s Bill, said the government’s version was not good enough – and MPs should be allowed to choose.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘Shame on the Tories for this. Very proud of @MrJohnNicolson for bringing this Bill forward and speaking so movingly on it.’

Labour’s Chris Bryant was close to tears as he joined fellow MPs in urging the Government to pardon all living gay men who were convicted of crimes that are no longer on the statute books.

Turing’s Law is named after Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, who was given a posthumous pardon over his relationship with a man.

The Government has stressed that anyone living who has been convicted of such abolished offences can already apply through the Home Office to have their names cleared through the disregard process, which removes any mention of an offence from criminal record checks.

 

 

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