From Pink News:
Exclusive: Conservatives to quash convictions for historic gay sex offenses
David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, writing for PinkNews.co.uk has announced that if elected, his party will quash the historic convictions of all those found guilty of consensual gay sex. It was the answer to one of a series of questions submitted by PinkNews.co.uk readers.
In 1994, the age of consent for gay men was reduced from 21 to 18, and in 2000, it was reduced further to 16, equalising with the age of consent for straight people.
However, the change in the law was not retrospective, so there are a considerable number of people who are required to disclose that they have a criminal record for a sexual offence, despite the action that they took part in being completely legal now.
These convictions need to be disclosed when applying for certain jobs and even for volunteering in hospitals or with children as they will be listed on a person's Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) certificate.
The announcement follows a question submitted by a PinkNews.co.uk reader in a Questions and Answer session with the Conservative leader published today. Mr Cameron wrote on PinkNews.co.uk "We will change the law so that any past convictions for consensual homosexual sexual activities, which have since become lawful, will be treated as spent, and will not be disclosed on a criminal record check when applying for a job. This is a question of justice – and it’s right that we should change the law and wipe the slate clean."
Although a rule passed in 2003 does mean that people convicted of now legal consensual sex are no longer listed on the Sex Offenders Register, the conviction remained on any individual's criminal record. Mr Cameron proposes that an amendment to the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act means these convictions will no longer show up on a CRB check by classing them as 'spent convictions.'
In an article for PinkNews.co.uk, Mr Cameron wrote:
"I believe heart and soul in equality: the whole idea of prejudice towards people on the basis of their sexuality is quite wrong and that’s why I back civil partnerships, why I told the Tory conference that commitment through marriage was equally valid whether between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman – and it’s why a Conservative government will put new rules in place to tackle homophobia and support gay couples.
"Despite this, I am aware that there will remain some doubters. But have no fear: the Party has changed, the changes we have made are supported by those serving in my team and those changes are lasting. So far as I am concerned, it is one of the touchstone issues that define the modern Conservative Party."