UK government announces pardons for gay and bisexual men



Justice Minister Sam Gyimah
Justice Minister Sam Gyimah

The UK government is set to posthumously pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of now abolished sexual offences, Justice Minister Sam Gyimah has announced.

The government said it will introduce an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which would formally pardon those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before the change in the law.

Anyone living who has been convicted of these now abolished offences can already apply through the Home Office to have their names cleared through the disregard process.

The government also announced a new statutory pardon for the living for cases where offences have been deleted through the disregard process.

Mr Gyimah said: “It is hugely important that we pardon people convicted of historical sexual offences who would be innocent of any crime today.

“Through pardons and the existing disregard process we will meet our manifesto commitment to put right these wrongs.”

The UK government also confirmed it will not support a private member’s bill introduced by SNP MP John Nicolson which proposes a blanket pardon for the living without the need to go through the disregard process.

Mr Gmiyah said: “I understand and support the intentions behind Mr Nicolson’s Bill, however I worry that he has not fully thought through the consequences. A blanket pardon, without the detailed investigations carried out by the Home Office under the disregard process, could see people guilty of an offence which is still a crime today claiming to be pardoned.

“This would cause an extraordinary and unnecessary amount of distress to victims and for this reason the government cannot support the Private Member’s Bill. Our way forward will be both faster and fairer.”