MP Iain Stewart raises Turing pardon case in Commons

MP Iain Stewart
MP Iain Stewart

CITY MP Iain Stewart has mounted a fresh attempt to get Bletchley Park war hero Alan Turing pardoned.

Last month an online petition urging the Government to clear his name was rejected in the House of Lords by Justice Minister Lord McNally.

Following that decision, Milton Keynes Citizen took up the cause to ask for the codebreaker to receive a pardon for ‘gross indecency’.

Homosexual Mr Turing was prosecuted in 1952 after admitting to having relations with another man, He was chemically castrated and, aged just 41, committed suicide two years later.

Mr Turing had been one of the key figures at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and led the team which eventually cracked the Enigma code – something many experts attribute as the turning point of the conflict.

On February 23, member of Milton Keynes South Mr Stewart told the Citizen he wanted to see Mr Turing’s name cleared and pledged to raise the issue in Parliament.

And last Thursday he was as good as his word.

Mr Stewart called on the Government to consider “whether it would be appropriate to grant him a pardon for the so-called crime of which he was convicted”.

House of Commons leader Sir George Young said he would have another look at the case, but added that the offence Mr Turing was convicted of was correct at that time.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “I understand that an application for a royal prerogative of mercy was put forward on the basis that the offence should not have existed, but sadly one cannot give a royal prerogative on those particular grounds.

“The argument that it should not have been an offence in the first place is not normally a ground for prerogative.”