David Cameron to ‘look into’ pardon for gay war hero Alan Turing

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Prime Minister David Cameron today said he would “look into” the issue of a pardon for gay codebreaker and computer genius Alan Turing, after the issue was raised by gay MP Stephen Gilbert.

Raising the question at Prime Minister’s Questions, Stephen Gilbert, the openly gay MP for St Austell and Newquay. asked for clarification on when a pardon would be brought forward.

Mr Gilbert also referred to the Attitude Awards which took place at the Royal Courts of Justice last night, when Turing was honoured with a posthumous award, presented to two of his nieces by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.

He said: “Last night, Mr Speaker, you presented an Attitude magazine award to the nieces of Alan Turing, the gay world war two code-breaker who helped this country to win world war two. The Government indicated in July that they would move to give a pardon to Mr Turing for his conviction for gross indecency which led him to take his own life. Can my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister tell us when that pardon will be granted?”

The Prime Minister responded: “Let me pay tribute to what Alan Turing and all the people who worked at Bletchley Park did for our country—it was absolutely remarkable and it was crucial in winning the second world war. Clearly what happened to him was completely wrong and now, looking back, everyone can see that—everybody knows that. I am very happy to look at the specific issue of the pardon and respond to the hon. Gentleman, but above all what we should do is praise Alan Turing and the brave people who worked for him.”

Today six commemorative Attitude Awards Issue covers were released with one being Turing. It reads “The gay man who saved the world”.

The Imitation Game, a biopic about Turing which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, began principal photography in the UK last month.

In May, a private member’s bill was introduced in the House of Lords, seeking to pardon Turing, who was prosecuted for “gross indecency” in 1952 after having a relationship with another man.

His former wartime colleague Baroness Trumpington said recently: “I am certain but for his work we would have lost the war through starvation.”

A New Alan Turing sculpture was also unveiled in London to commemorate the computer genius’s legacy.

John Bercow will host and present the PinkNews Awards on 23 October in the Palace of Westminster.