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Alan Turing pardon sails through House of Lords

30 Oct 2013
Alan Turing was born in 1912 and hearlded as the father of modern computing

The bill to pardon World War II hero and computing pioneer Alan Turing has now passed through the House of Lords and will next be heard in the House of Commons.

The bill has been tabled by Lib Dem Lord Sharkey who wants the conviction handed down to Turing for homosexuality removed from the statue books. Last year the government rejected a similar move to remove the conviction, arguing that at the time his actions were a crime and so the conviction was legally accurate.

However, several Lords backed Lord Sharkey's motion earlier this year as part of a renewed attempt to overturned the conviction.

The third reading took place on Wednesday afternoon with no disagreement or amendments put forward to hinder its progress. The only concern was voiced by one Lord who argued the Bill should not be used as a precedent to posthumously convict people of crimes that were not, at that time, considered a crime.

In passing the third reading stage Lord Sharkey thank the support he has received in supporting the Bill from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Baroness Trumpington, who worked at Bletchley Park during World War Two.

Speaking last week, Lord Sharkey said he was pleased that the bill was moving closer to becoming law.

“With the passing of my Bill at Committee stage yesterday, we edged a step closer to granting Alan Turing the free pardon he so clearly deserves. I hope my Bill now becomes law and we can acknowledge the debt we owe to him,” he said in a statement sent to V3.

There is still a way to go before it becomes law, but the backing by the Lords gives hope the House of Commons will also see the Bill to becoming law and the eventually removal of Turing’s conviction.

The plight of Turing after World War II is one of the UK’s darker moments, with his genius in helping crack the enigma code, which was central to the Allied efforts to win the war, overlooked by the establishment which hounded him for his homosexuality, leading to his death.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for the treatment he suffered at the hands of his own government but supporters of Turing want this to go further.

V3 celebrated the life of Turing last year with a list of some of the fascinating facts about the great man, including his incredible marathon running abilities.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

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