The Government was today urged to act swiftly to quash historic convictions for consensual gay sexual acts that are now perfectly legal in the UK.

Iain Stewart, Conservative Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, raised the matter with the Equalities Minister in the House of Commons this morning during Women and Equalities questions.

Lynne Featherstone, standing in for Theresa May who was in Brussels for an EU meeting, responded:

“The rights and freedoms Bill will include provisions to ensure that those who were prosecuted for consensual gay sex with over-16s at a time when that was illegal may apply to have their conviction deleted from police records. As a result, they will no longer be required to disclose their conviction in any circumstances.”

Mr Stewart went on to suggest that a potential benefit would be “that men with such convictions who have not previously volunteered for charities or other organisations will now be able to do so, as they will no longer have to make the disclosure in their Criminal Records Bureau checks”.

Ms Featherstone agreed, suggesting that it was “unfair” and “unjust” that men should still fear being exposed for an act which has “long not been illegal”. She added, “Such men will never again have to disclose that information. I hope very much that those gay men whom that has inhibited from volunteering will now find that inhibition removed.”

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