In 1954 the Conservative government asked Sir John Wolfenden to head a committee which would examine the laws which related to prostitution and homosexuality. At that time the number of prosecutions for homosexual acts was rising rapidly, partly due to witch hunts by some police who had their own personal agendas and partly due the public outrage at the gay Cambridge spies (Burgess and Maclean) who sold state secrets to Russia.
Some of the prosecutions began to arouse public sympathy, particularly in the case of the Lord Montagu and Peter Wildeblood trials (For more information, click HERE). When Sir John Gielgud was taken to court having been arrested for cottaging, his next appearance on stage was greeted with a round of applause.
Some of the Wolfenden Committee became embarrassed by the constant references to prostitutes and homosexuals, so they decided to refer to homosexuals as "Huntleys" and prostitutes as "Palmers".
The Committee delivered its report in 1957, but the government shied away from acting on it.