Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count says its time for councillors and officers to say if they are a freemason
PUBLISHED: 14:59 13 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:59 13 July 2015
County council leader Steve Count is to press for all councillors - and senior officers- to declare publicly if they are a freemason.
“One area of concern I have seen expressed on social media and personally to me is the secrecy supposedly surrounding membership of the freemasons,” he said.
“As leader of a county council I believe the trust of the electorate is important not just for me but for the whole political system.”
Cllr Count will put a motion to next Tuesday’s full council meeting calling for the register of interests to reflect membership of a lodge. He also wants councillors and officers to declare if their wives or partners – including those in a civil partnership- belong to the freemasons.
He said: “The freemasons themselves encourage openness and transparency. However simply passing on this knowledge on its own has does little to allay the electorate’s fears, whether real or unjustified.
“I have therefore decided a more proactive approach to increase transparency would be a good idea”
There are 250,000 freemasons belonging to 8,000 lodges throughout England and Wales, and districts overseas, said Cllr Count.
From 2004 to 2012 councillors were obliged to declare freemason membership but the rules changed when the Standards Board of England gave way to a lighter code of conduct regime governing their behaviour.
Now he wants membership to be declared once again and said he was “sure it will gain support from all quarters, both members and non members of that society”.
He added: “I am not one myself but have spoken to many people who are and see no reason to make a secret of the fact.”