Northern Ireland to pass Turing Law too?

The Northern Ireland Justice Minister has announced that the upcoming pardon for historic sexual offences known as the “Turing Law” may be extended to cover Northern Ireland.

Claire Sugden MLA, the Justice Minister in the six counties, said: “Pardon arrangements should be brought to Northern Ireland as soon as possible to ensure that there is equal treatment for gay and bisexual men here as for their counterparts in England and Wales.”

The pardon clause will strike from criminal records offences which were only crimes due to discrimatory laws. It is a Lib Dem amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill currently making its way through Parliament, building on the work John Leech MP did in the 2010 Parliament to secure a pardon for WOrld War II code-breaker Alan Turing.

However due to the asymmetric devolution within the UK it is up to Northern Ireland and Scotland whether to implement their own change, be included in the Wales and England measure, or keep the law there as it stands.

Following the announcement it is expected the Northern Ireland government’s executive is to ask Westminster to extend the measure to Northern Ireland as well, provided the Stormont Assembly backs the proposal.

It will be a contrast to same-sex marriage, which is still blocked in Northern Ireland through that same devolved set of powers.