Derbyshire County Council Freemasons told to declare membership

Masonic square and compasses symbol The Conservatives said it was unfair to single out the Freemasons, particularly as they are not a political group

Related Stories

Derbyshire County Council has decided that councillors will have to declare membership of influential groups, including the Freemasons.

The measures are designed to ensure the integrity of the authority when acting on behalf of residents.

The Labour-led council said it was about transparency but the Conservative group said it was about prejudice.

The Tory leader compared the situation faced by Freemasons to that experienced by ANC members during apartheid.

Councillors have to declare membership of pressure groups, trade unions, the Freemasons or other influential bodies.

The decision provoked shouting, finger pointing and a small walkout at an earlier meeting.

'Bird-watching club'

Labour's Andy Botham, who put the motion forward, said: "I'm not prejudiced against Freemasons - I just used it as an example."

He added: "Anyone can be a member of a group but the people they represent are entitled to know about it."

However, Conservative leader Barry Lewis said: "It is about the principle of the thing - why single out a group like the Freemasons?"

He added: "The council has already got robust protections for ensuring councillors make declarations of interest about people they know - whether it be through a Freemasonry lodge or a bird-watching club."

Mr Lewis conceded that Freemasons did not face the same possibility of reprisals as members of the ANC during apartheid, but said he made the comparison as a way of getting people to understand why it was wrong to single out a particular group.

Earlier, two Tory councillors declared their membership of the Freemasons.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Derby



22 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

    Hosepipe ban not needed 08:27: BBC Radio Derby

    Severn Trent has ruled out a hosepipe ban in Derbyshire, despite the hot weather.

    The firm says its reservoirs are more than 90% full and levels have been topped up by regular rain.

    Community buses funding fear 08:18: BBC Radio Derby

    A service providing a "lifeline" for elderly and vulnerable people in rural parts of Derbyshire fears it could lose all its funding from the county council.

    Eight community transport schemes in the county have been warned the authority is struggling to afford the £1.46m it will cost to keep running over the next few years and their grants may be cut.

    Silver for Peaty 08:07:

    Swimmer Adam Peaty, from Derby, claimed his second medal of the Commonwealth Games last night, winning silver in the 50m breaststroke.

    Adam Peaty

    The 19-year-old's success followed a remarkable afternoon in which Derbyshire competitors picked up four medals, in squash (two), shooting and table tennis.

    Cloudy afternoon 08:03: Sara Blizzard BBC Weather

    A sunny morning but cloud will thicken during the afternoon with the odd light shower possible in places. Highs of 25C (77F).

    Good morning 08:00: Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you all Tuesday's news, sport, travel and weather for Derbyshire and east Staffordshire.

    Email or tweet us if you'd like to contribute a picture, comment or question. You can also get involved on Facebook.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.