Plea to Ombudsman over Freemasons
Jan. 20, 2004
The Western Mail
AN MP is urging Wales to follow England's lead on a ruling over Freemasonry.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Jackie Lawrence wants Freemasons to be forced to declare their membership when they become councillors.
Her call follows a ruling by the Local Government Standards Board in England, that membership of the Freemasons must be declared under the Councillors' Code of Conduct. Mrs Lawrence, who has long campaigned on the issue, has written to the Local Government Ombudsman in Wales urging him to implement similar guidance.
"Government at every level needs to be open and transparent. That is why councillors, AMs and MPs have to declare their interests when they take office," she said.
"It seems a major anomaly that membership of a secret society like the Freemasons should to date have been ignored as a potential interest.
"This ruling in England makes declaration obligatory. It is a significant step in making local government wholly transparent."
Under the Code of Conduct in England, councillors must declare membership of charities - and part of the subscription fees to lodges go to the Freemasons' Grand Charity.