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Pardon in sight for Alan Turing

An Early Day Motion in parliament has called for the posthumous pardon of Alan Turing, 60 years after his conviction for homosexuality.

Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He worked as one of the Bletchley Park cryptanalysts who cracked the Enigma code during World War Two, but was chemically castrated following charges of ‘gross indecency’ with another man.

He committed suicide two years later.

John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, submitted the Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for Turing’s pardon. Speaking last week, Mr. Leech said that, “Alan Turing was a Manchester hero and a national hero. He helped shorten the war and then was persecuted by the state for his sexuality.”

However, questions remain over what the EDM will achieve. The motion will have no legislative effect and merely reflects the opinions of MPs. As one of parliament’s most prolific proposers, John Leech will know that most EDMs never make it to a debate.

Mr. Leech was unavailable to respond to questions regarding what practical effect his efforts would have or how else he intends to achieve a pardon for Turing.

The call for a pardon follows an apology issued in 2009 by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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Gareth Lewis

Former news editor (2011-2012).
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