Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert's Call For Pardon For Alan Turing Goes To Lords

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert’s call for a pardon for mathematician and wartime code breaker, Alan Turing was put to the House of Lords today (Wednesday, July 25).

Liberal Democrat Lord John Sharkey introduced a Private Member’s Bill to give Dr Turing national recognition and a free pardon.

Julian, along with other MPs, has been campaigning for the government to act. He held a debate to commemorate the Centenary of Alan Turing at Westminster Hall last month.

He said: “This is a great step forward for this campaign. Alan Turing made a huge contribution to society but his work has gone largely unrecognised. And he was treated abominably by the society he helped so much. Now we have the opportunity to put right what we got so badly wrong.

“If this Bill becomes law Alan Turing will have the recognition and free pardon that he deserves.”

Lord Sharkey said that Turing was the father of computing and his legacy is with us every time anyone uses a computer anywhere in the world.

“He also helped save this country,” he said. “His work on cracking the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park during World War II undoubtedly changed the course of the war and saved many thousands of lives. But instead of being rewarded by his country, he was cruelly punished and convicted simply for being gay.

“If my Bill becomes law, as I hope it will, then this will finally go some way towards acknowledging the debt we all owe to Alan Turing and grant him the free pardon he so clearly deserves.”

The full wording of the Bill is as follows:

Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill

A Bill to pardon Alan Mathison Turing for his conviction on 31 March 1952 of offences contrary to section 11 of the Criminal Amendment Act 1885.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1       Statutory Pardon of Alan Mathison Turing
(1)   Alan Turing is taken to be pardoned in respect of the offences under section 11  of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 (gross indecency between men) of which he was convicted at the Quarter Sessions at Knutsford, in the County of Cheshire,  on 31 March 1952.

 (2)    In this section “Alan Turing” means Alan Mathison Turing, who was born on 23 June 1912, the son of Julius Mathison Turing and Ethel Sara Turing,  and who died on 8 June 1954.

(3)     This Act does not—
(a)     affect any conviction or sentence;
(b)     give rise to any right, entitlement or liability; or
(c)     affect the prerogative of mercy.

2       Short title, commencement and extent
(1)     This Act may be cited as the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Act 2012.
(2)     This Act comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.
(3)     This Act extends to England and Wales.