OFFICIAL – ALAN TURING PARDONED POSTHUMOUSLY

LGBT HM co-chair Tony Fenwick spoke on BBC Radio 5 to comment on the announcement. His interview is in our sound archive:  Tony Fenwick interview – Turing Pardon 24.12.13
Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, has been given a posthumous pardon.
In October the government supported a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments were made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said.
The announcement marks a possible change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.
Ahmad told peers: “Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission. In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalised the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective … That is why the government believe it is right that parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills.”
The government threw its weight behind the private member’s bill, promoted by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, after a debate that featured a contribution from a peer who worked at Bletchley Park. Lady Trumpington told peers: “The block I worked in was devoted to German naval codes. Only once was I asked to deliver a paper to Alan Turing, so … I cannot claim that I knew him. However, I am certain that but for his work we would have lost the war through starvation.”
BBC video of the Bill’s debate:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-lords-23378209
and their report “Parliament ‘must pardon codebreaker Turing'”:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23376832
For a full transcript of the debate see:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2013-07-19a.1006.0
Thanks to Barry S. Cooper for the links.
Alan Turing infographic:
http://www.jurysinns.com/hotels/manchester/alan-turing