Justice Minister promises pardons for people with historic convictions

Besi Besemar February 28, 2015

Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes today promised legislation before the May General Election to pardon those with historic convictions for being homosexual.

Justice Minister: Simon Hughes MP
Justice Minister: Simon Hughes MP

Mr Hughes made the promise this afternoon during a political hustings event at National Student Pride at the University of Westminster in Marylebone.

He said if there is not enough parliamentary time to change the law, it will be part of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto.

Around 49,000 men were convicted of gay sex with people over the age of 16 before the law was repealed in 1967.

The campaign was spurred on after, in 2013, the Queen pardoned Alan Turing, the World War Two codebreaker, who¬†was prosecuted in 1952 for ‘homosexual acts’. ¬†Turing underwent chemical castration before committing suicide in 1954.

The National Student Pride panel debate was chaired by BBC Newsnight anchor Evan Davis, who gave representatives from the major political parties the opportunity to compete for the LGBTI student vote. UKIP snubbed the invitation to send a representative.

The Green party were popular with the audience and Evan Davis noted even Labour supporter and columnist Owen Jones seemed to agree more with the Greens than Labour. The Greens’ key pledge was to scrap tuition fees,

Stonewall co-founder Lord Michael Cashman called on people to fight for the future of the National Health Service.

Conservative MP Mike Freer told the students:¬†“The most important thing, whether you are gay or straight, is the economy. This government has delivered and will continue to deliver.”

A show of hands at the end of the discussion indicated most students will vote Labour or Green ‚Äď and crucially the fact that none will back UKIP received a round of applause.

Student Pride is an annual national event which this year celebrated its tenth anniversary and was hosted at the University of Westminster, Marylebone, for the second year running.