‘Unprecedented contribution to society and science’: Manchester councillor backs campaign for Turing £50 note

Manchester Liberal Democrat councillor John Leech has voiced his support for featuring Alan Turing on the new £50 note.

Since the Bank of England signalled its intention to feature a scientist on the new note, mathematician Alan Turing is being floated as a potential candidate.

Turing could be one of several British scientists in contention with historic ties to Manchester.

Mr Leech said: “Placing Turing on the £50 note would at least go some way to acknowledging his unprecedented contribution to society and science.

“But more importantly it will serve as a stark and frankly painful reminder of what we lost in Turing and what we will lose again if we ever allow that kind of hateful ideology to win.”

Alan Turing, who spent time working at the Victoria University of Manchester, is best known for his work in Bletchley Park during WWII and developing early computer science.

A homosexual, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952, after which he was chemically castrated.

Two years later he died of cyanide poisoning in a suspected suicide aged 41.

Mr Leech, the former MP for Manchester Withington, was a leading campaigner for the pardon of Alan Turing and thousands of other people convicted of the same crime.

Other names frequently mentioned as possible faces of the new £50 include Stephen Hawking, Ada Lovelace and Rosalind Franklin.

Any of the above would give notable representation to LGBT people, women, or people with disabilities on British currency.

Some scientists with connections to Manchester could also be in the running, such as John Dalton and Ernest Rutherford, the latter being best known for ‘splitting’ the atom.

The public can suggest names of scientists to the Bank of England on its website, with nominations closing on 14 December.

The final choice will be announced in 2019.

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