Call for urgent action on pardons for gay men


I called on the Scottish Government to explore all options to ensure that men convicted under long-abolished laws that criminalised homosexuality are pardoned.

The UK Government confirmed it would accept a Liberal Democrat amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill that will grant posthumous pardons to those convicted over consensual same-sex relationships. Men still alive will be eligible for a statutory pardon through the disregard process, clearing their name and criminal record.

With the majority of the Policing and Crime Bill currently only applying to England and Wales, I urged the Scottish Government to explore all options to ensure that men in Scotland can benefit from this change too.

A Private Members' Bill on this issue that is being debated at Westminster will also only apply in England and Wales if passed.

These men did nothing wrong. It is absolutely right that their convictions under these outdated and discriminatory laws are pardoned. With the Policing and Crime Bill largely applying to England and Wales we need to ensure that men in Scotland can benefit from this change too.

The Scottish Government needs to explore all options to ensure that this happens as a matter of urgency. Whether the best course of action is a legislative consent motion, fresh legislation or an amendment to another bill, we need to act quickly. I am sure they will have the support of the whole parliament if they do so.

The success of this amendment shows Liberal Democrats continue to be the strongest voice on equality at both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.


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