After 43 years, a man dubbed, ‘the oldest gay in the village’ has finally received an “abject apology” from the Home Office.
George Montague was convicted in 1974 of gross indecency with a man and has fought ever since for an apology.
The 93-year-old, started a petition and delivered it to Downing Street with his husband, Somchai Pukklai, asking for “an apology before I die”.
The petition received over 7,000 signatures.
While the government pardoned thousands of gay men, Mr Montague argued that this was not enough because a pardon still “accepts that you were guilty”.
The petition said: “
If one was born only able to be ‘in love’ with another man, one was automatically presumed guilty. I and 49,000 others still have criminal convictions. I am partitioning for an apology from this government on behalf of their predecessors.
On receiving the letter, Mr Montague said: "It really made my day, I was over the moon.”
The letter sent to him by the Home Office, reads:
Understand that we offer this full apology. Their treatment was entirely unfair. What happened to these men is a matter of the greatest regret and it should be so to all of us.
The apology comes 50 years after the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised private homosexual acts between men aged over 21 in England and Wales, in 1967.