For many gay men in the United Kingdom, there was light at the end of a tunnel in the Government’s Protection of Freedoms Bill.
The Rt Hon David Cameron, wrote in an exclusive for Pink News:
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.
Unfortunately, it seems that once again HMG is being economical with the truth.
Those gay men were hoping – indeed they had been told – that their convictions for homosexual offences prior to the decriminalization of homosexual acts were not going to be disclosed. Now, with the publication of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, ironically in LGBT History Month, it appears that they will not be. They will remain on individuals’ criminal records, meaning that they will come up in any checks on criminal records carried out. In these checks they will come up with ‘disregarded conviction’. It seems like this could have come straight out of the mouth of Sir Humphrey Appleby GCB, KBE, MVO, MA (Oxon).
Although to even get this far, each and every one of these men will have to apply himself to the Secretary of State for this to be done.
Sadly Part 5, chapter 3 of the Bill will only apply to England & Wales. Perhaps seeing as the legislation that removed the offences was passed by The Queen in Parliament (or by The Queen in Council in some Northern Ireland cases (like the Homosexual Offences Order 1982)) prior to devolution to Scotland and Northern Ireland, the removal of these from the records should also be carried out by Parliament. It looks like there should be campaigns started to write amendments to do this. Anyone want to help?