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A Derbyshire councillor voiced his disgust yesterday after a leading Tory compared his suggestion that Freemasons seeking election should register their membership to "Boer and Nazi" brutality.
Having previously applauded new government regulations requiring the registration of trade union members, hypocritical Conservative councillors have been screaming “persecution” ever since Matlock
Labour councillor Andy Botham called for the secretive organisation to be included on a register of interests in April.
And newly–appointed leader of Derbyshire Conservative group Barry Lewis went even further early this week in a speech to council as the formal motion was put forward.
Cllr Lewis likened the idea to Hitler’s treatment of Jewish people in Nazi Germany, and to the South African apartheid government’s treatment of the African National Congress (ANC).
Reading from a prepared statement he said: “Freemasons were counted alongside the Jews as fair game for the Nazis. How did it start back in the 1930s and '40s? It started out with the singling out of a single group of people and it grew from that.
“This is in many ways similar to being an ANC member under apartheid in South Africa. Perhaps worse, because Cllr Botham and the Labour group have singled out a group of people with no political affiliations.’”
Cllr Botham said: “I was absolutely disgusted and outraged by their comparing my motion to the persecution of Jewish people and the ANC.”
Cllr Botham has himself already complied with regulations introduced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last year telling trade unionists to register by proudly declaring his active membership of train drivers’ union Aslef.
Cllr Lewis by contrast has vowed to refuse to comply with the near-identical Freemasons policy, even though it was introduced democratically by a majority vote of his own council.
Derbyshire Council has also received a formal complaint from the Freemasons Grand Lodge of England that Freemasons’ European human rights are under attack in Derbyshire.
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