COUNCILLORS' MASONIC MEMBERSHIP REVEALED
18 June 2004
Our elected representatives may not always seem the most interesting of people.
But a Courier investigation has found that life outside the House of Commons or the council chamber entails an assortment of murder mysteries, mining and Freemasonry.
A look through the various registers of members' interests shows there is rather more to some of our politicians than meets the eye. Coun Bernard Kirton (Ind, Whitnash), for example, is not known for his subtlety, so it is surprising to learn he is a director of the College of Acupuncture.
Coun Richard Tamlin (Lab, Bishops Tachbrook) evidently gets away from the political hothouse by taking a dip in cool waters as a member of the Amateur Swimming Association and the City of Coventry Swimming Club. Coun Sarah Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington Crown) meanwhile likes life at the coalface, listing the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining among her interests.
This year, members of local authorities have had to declare for the first time membership of Masonic organisations. Coun John Hammon (Con, Cubbington) is affiliated to St Michael's Lodge in Coventry - though points out he has not attended a meeting since 1993 - while Dave Shilton (Lib Dem, Kenilworth Park Hill) lists the Freemasons Grand Charity. Birdingbury resident Coun John Vereker (Con, Rugby Overslade) has declared membership of the Grand Lodge of England Grand Charity and the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany.
New Labour may be wary of socialism, but not all its members are so keen to distance themselves from the red flag. Coun Bob Crowther is a member of the Socialist Environment and Resources Association, which seeks to marry green issues with tackling "the inequality and injustice which characterises British and global society", according to its website. He is also in the Fabian Society, which was founded to lead to the gradual establishment of socialism through non-violent revolution. Coun Andy Marshall (Lab, Leamington Clarendon), meanwhile, is a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament member.
Two of our men in Westminster have lives outside the political sphere. Perhaps the most intriguing is Stratford MP John Maples's directorship of Agatha Christie Ltd, which owns the literary copyrights of the famed Miss Marple and Poirot creator. James Plaskitt, the member for Warwick and Leamington, is a director of Leamington firm De Brus Marketing - but Rugby and Kenilworth MP Andy King is officially disinterested.