Stonewall today welcomed new amendments to the Protections of Freedoms Bill tabled by the Government. The Bill will remove records of gay men convicted of offences involving consenting sex that would now be lawful. The new amendments, called for by Stonewall, would also allow gay men maliciously convicted of ‘loitering with intent’ under Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 to have them removed from their criminal record too.
‘We warmly welcome the Government’s decision to table these amendments and will encourage all parties to support them,’ said Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill. ‘Stonewall lobbied hard for gay men to be able to apply for convictions for consensual gay sex to be removed from their records. Not only were those convictions unfair but their presence on people’s records has dissuaded many of those men from applying for jobs or volunteering their time to good causes.’
‘We’re grateful to Home Office officials who have worked on this issue ever since we first met them as long ago as 2003,’ said Ben Summerskill. ‘Many police forces across Britain were until the recent past often highly creative in the way they unfairly prosecuted gay men. Consequently, we strongly welcome these provisions being extended to men prosecuted for what was often a trumped-up charge of loitering with intent.’
Stonewall gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee considering the Protection of Freedoms Bill on 24 March 2011.
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