Liberal Democrats have celebrated the announcement that computer pioneer and code-breaker Alan Turing will feature on the new design of the Bank of England’s £50 note.
It was the campaign by the Liberal Democrats, led by John Leech, the former MP for Manchester Withington, which eventually led to Alan Turing’s posthumous pardon.
Following the announcement, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:
Alan Turing made an immeasurable contribution to our country.
Not only is he the father of modern computing, but the work that was done at Bletchley Park in cracking the German Enigma Machine saved countless lives in bringing the war to an end.
He was for an important period of time also a resident in my Twickenham constituency when he worked at the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington.
Today’s announcement is monumental in recognising the invaluable work he did. It is also an important reminder of a part of our history where prejudice and blatant bigotry were enshrined in law.
In honouring him today, we must also remember that bigotry and discrimination leads to a terrible waste of talent for society as a whole.
Welcoming today’s news, Turing pardon architect John Leech said:
It is almost impossible to put into words the difference that Alan Turing made to society, but perhaps the most poignant example is that his work is estimated to have shortened the war by four years and saved up to 21 million lives.
I’m absolutely delighted that Turing will be the face of the new £50 note and I hope it will go some way to acknowledging his unprecedented contribution to society and science.
But more importantly I hope it will serve as a stark and rightfully painful reminder of what we lost in Turing, and what we risk when we allow that kind of hateful ideology to win.