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Masonic journalists in Westminster Parliament Gallery Lodge

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:41 am    Post subject: Masonic journalists in Westminster Parliament Gallery Lodge Reply with quote

Freemasonry in the lobby
http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/blog/2006/02/23/freemasonry-in-the-lobby  /
Posted by Martin Stabe on 23 February 2006 at 04:40pm

Writing in the New Statesman, associate editor Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror notes the Masonic goings-on in the Parliamentary press gallery:

I read in the minutes of the parliamentary press pinny boys the names of an old Times hand, a couple of ex-Express scribes and my former boss at the Press Association news wire, yet disappointingly none of the Gallery galacticos.

Word was that the masons operated two lobby lodges, so perhaps chapter 1928 is the retirees. Anyone who’d like to peruse what this funny-handshake brigade got up to at their 366th convocation should get in touch.

Surely Maguire refers to the minutes of lobby hacks’ Masonic lodge, which, as our very own Axegrinder recently reported, were accidentally e-mailed to MPs by former Daily Express political editor Rob Gibson.

Maguire should get in touch with Paul Linford, who noted that the Westminster hacks’ Masonic lodge was a major topic of gossip during his time as a lobby correspondent.


Parliament Squared
http://paullinford.blogspot.com/2006/01/parliament-squared.html
As an ex-lobby man, this story from the Axe Grinder column in this week's Press Gazette brought a smile to my face...

"Fleet Street veteran Rob Gibson, has learnt the hard way about the dangers of email.

The former Daily Express political editor and dedicated fund-raiser for journalists' charity the NPF now runs the highly regarded Gallery News at the House of Commons. Gibson sends out stories daily to a host of outlets, including MPs at Westminster.

Unfortunately, Gibson sent out one email in error last week that was a little too "exclusive".

To the great man's consternation, it contained the minutes of the latest meeting of his Masonic lodge. Now there's open government for you."

The extent of masonry within the lobby - and the Palace of Westminster as a whole - was a constant source of mischievous speculation during my time there.

Correspondents were frequently baffled to find the chairs in the Lobby Room rearranged with one facing the wrong way - a seating arrangement consistent with the masonic initiation ritual in which the candidate sits blindfolded with his back to the room.

On one memorable occasion, a notorious wind-up merchant in the regional lobby put out a spoof tannoy for the Secretary of the Press Gallery Freemasons' Lodge - such a body does exist.

It was answered by a very well-known Sunday newspaper political editor, who maintained he was simply curious as to who was on the other end of the line.....

Parliamentary Lodge numbers
MPs at Westminster have had their own Masonic lodge since 1929, but the lobby journalists' lodge dates back to 1881. According to Martin Short in Inside the Brotherhood (p.582):

Concern [about the influence of Freemasonry in Parliament] has never been reported by Britain's Parliamentary press. Its silence may have something to do with the fact that a second lodge operates in the Palace of Westminster. Thirty-eight years before MPs had their own New Welcome Lodge [no. 1539], the press lobby had set up the Gallery Lodge (no. 1928).

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Mark Gobell
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now we know what is meant by a "free" press - Freemason's Press.

Good dig TG.

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here's a NICE PIC


http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=84852&page=4

Reminder: Tony Blair's lodge is said to be No. 1591 United Studholme Alliance Lodge - which is based at 10 Duke Street St. James, LONDON SW1Y 6BS, the London Headquaters of the order of the

It meets on the 1st Wednesday in February, the 3rd Wednesday in March, the 4th Wednesday in May and has an installation meeting for new members on 3rd Wednesday in October.

Quote:
The 'Rose Croix' Degree is the 18th degree of a Christian Order of Masonry, originating in France, and known as the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Freemasonry. Established in 1801, the Order comprises thirty three degrees which amplify the teachings of Craft Masonry within a Christian context. For this reason candidates must profess the Trinitarian Christian Faith and are required, prior to any formal consideration of their candidature, to sign a declaration to this effect.

Throughout England and Wales and certain Districts and Chapters Overseas the Order is governed by the Supreme Council 330 whose headquarters are known as Grand East and are located at No. 10, Duke Street, St. James' London.

Candidates for the Rose Croix must:
(a) have been initiated in a Lodge or Lodges under the United Grand Lodge of England unless otherwise authorised in the Rules of the Supreme Council.
(b) have been a Master Mason for at least one full year and be in good standing with the Craft.
The ceremony of the 18th degree, the only ceremony worked in full by the Chapter, seeks the Perfection of Christian virtues in Faith, Hope and Charity. It is an immensely thought provoking, impressive and beautiful ceremony which instils a warmth of Brotherly love on which the whole Masonic movement is founded.

Regalia for the 18th degree is both simple and spectacular and comprises a rose pink edged collar with gold braid embroidered with various symbols in gold braid. A jewel is appended to the collar. The District of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire comprises thirteen Chapters Rose Croix located within the Craft Province boundaries. Chapters meet three times a year between September and May and evenings are completed with the traditional festive board. Meetings are very friendly and relaxed with members sharing a commitment to Christian fellowship and an understanding of this very beautiful Masonic Order.
http://www.northants-huntsmasons.org.uk/rosecroix.htm

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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Craig W
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good info, Tony. Love the big picture.

Many thanks.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two Freemasons' lodges operating secretly at Westminster
Exclusive: Lodges for MPs and journalists are so covert even lobby reporters do not know members

Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons
The Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament

Ian Cobain
Sun 4 Feb 2018 14.00 GMT Last modified on Mon 5 Feb 2018 10.06 GMT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/04/two-freemasons-lodges -operating-secretly-at-westminster

Two Freemasons’ lodges set up for members of parliament and political journalists are continuing to operate secretly at Westminster, the Guardian has learned.

New Welcome Lodge, which recruits MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps known as the lobby, both remain active, according to Freemasonry records.

A third lodge called the Alfred Robbins Lodge, which was also set up for journalists, also continues to meet regularly in London.

The identities of the members of these three lodges remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry, however, and so discreet are the members of Gallery Lodge that few journalists working in the lobby appear to be aware of its existence.

Q&A
What is Freemasonry?

Show
One current member of New Welcome told the Guardian that its members keep Gallery Lodge masons at arm’s length, on the grounds that while they are fellow members of the brotherhood, they are still journalists, and “they wouldn’t want journalists listening to their conversations”.

Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons

David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, said there was no contradiction between the practice of journalism and membership of Freemasonry.


“Contrary to populist perception, being a Freemason helps those members in roles serving society in the broader sense, including journalists, politicians, policemen and lawyers, to be better in those jobs by encouraging them to act as better people themselves. Their membership is a positive for both them as individuals, and for society at large,” he said.

More Freemasons would declare their membership, he added, if they did not fear prejudice and discrimination: “There should be no conflict between an individual choosing whether to declare their membership or not with that individual’s ability to do their job well. But there is, because some choose to believe otherwise, and some of our detractors are doing so based on nothing other than blind prejudice.”

Q&A
Have you had any experience of being a Freemason?

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The disclosure that both political journalists and politicians are Freemasons comes after the outgoing chair of the Police Federation alleged that Freemasons were blocking reforms in policing and thwarting the progress of women and officers from black and minority ethnic communities.

Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us | Duncan Campbell

After three years as the chair of the Police Federation, Steve White said: “I found that there were people who were fundamentally against any kind of change and any kind of progress, and they always happened to be Freemasons.”

The charge brought an angry denial from the UGLE. In a letter to the press, Staples said: “We are quietly proud that throughout history, when people have suffered discrimination both in public and social life, Freemasonry has welcomed them into our lodges as equals.” He added that many Freemasons chose to keep their membership secret in order to avoid being discriminated against.

At Westminster, MPs and peers are not obliged to declare their membership of the Freemasons, although the Commons authorities say they can disclose this information voluntarily on the registers of members’ and Lords’ financial interests. None currently do so.

Nor do any political journalists declare their membership of the Freemasons on the register of journalists’ interests, which is maintained by parliament.

The three lodges each meet four times a year at Freemasons’ Hall, the UGLE’s headquarters in Covent Garden, London.

The UGLE said Gallery Lodge currently has 45 members and Alfred Robbins Lodge – which is named after a former newspaperman and prominent mason – has 18 members.

“None of the members who have joined either of these two lodges since 2000 have their occupation recorded as journalist or anything obviously linked to the newspaper industry,” the spokesman said.

It is unclear how many of their members joined before that year, however, and UGLE will not identify the lodges’ members.

The Guardian understands past members of Gallery Lodge have included former journalists at the Times, the Daily Express, the Scotsman, and several Hansard reporters.

While the New Welcome lodge has about 30 to 40 members, the Guardian understands only about four of the current members are MPs, and that none are peers. Most of the members of the lodge are former MPs, parliamentary staff or police officers who have served at Westminster. MPs who are Freemasons are members of other lodges, however.

Freemasons Hall in central London. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Although New Welcome lodge was set up following the 1926 general strike, to admit Labour politicians who had previously been refused entry to Freemasonry, the Guardian understands that none of its current members are Labour MPs.

Many are said to have left the Freemasons in the 1980s, fearing they would lose their seats if they were questioned about membership while reapplying for the Labour party’s nomination in between general elections, which had become a requirement at the start of that decade.

At least one Labour MP is said to have left New Welcome Lodge when facing reselection at this time, and arranged for his membership to be held in abeyance so that he could be quietly readmitted once he knew his parliamentary seat was secure.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freemasons in Westminster ‘should declare membership’
Tory MP and journalists’ union concerned at revelation secret lodges operate in parliament

The chamber in the House of Commons

Ian Cobain and Rajeev Syal
Mon 5 Feb 2018 14.52 GMT Last modified on Tue 6 Feb 2018 00.15 GMT
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/05/freemasons-in-westmins ter-should-declare-membership-tory-mp-journalists

The journalists’ union and a senior Conservative MP have expressed alarm at the disclosure that two Freemasons’ lodges have been operating secretly at Westminster.

The National Union of Journalists said both journalists and members of parliament should openly declare their membership of Freemasonry.

The NUJ general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, said: “Trust in journalism is absolutely essential, and transparency of membership of the Freemasons is long overdue. The NUJ backs calls for Freemason membership to be listed by both journalists and MPs in their declared register of interests when working in parliament.”

Q&A
What is Freemasonry?

Show
Sarah Wollaston, the Totnes MP who chairs two parliamentary committees, wrote that MPs should be made to declare membership of the Freemasons.

“Have to ask why anyone would bother with all that claptrap if not for the chance to weasel an unfair advantage. So of course it should be compulsory to declare membership of Freemasons if your job is paid for by taxpayers,” she wrote on Twitter.

Senior Freemasons insist there is no contradiction between the practice of journalism and membership of Freemasonry.

David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, which governs about 200,000 Freemasons in England and Wales, said that contrary to popular perception, membership helps those serving society – “including journalists, politicians, policemen and lawyers” – to perform those roles well.

“Their membership is a positive for both them as individuals, and for society at large,” he said, adding that more Freemasons would declare their membership if they did not fear prejudice and discrimination.

Critics of covert membership of Freemasonry included Paul Waugh, the executive editor of the Huffington Post, who wrote: “I do recall once arriving early for a Commons meeting, in a little-known part of the House, to find all the chairs arranged in a very odd manner indeed, and hearing a rumour that this was where masons had met.

“Verifying anything was impossible. What’s particularly odd is that neither MPs nor journalists are required to declare their membership in the Commons register of interests. Surely if there’s nothing to hide, transparency is now long overdue?”

Secret Freemasons should have no place in public life | Dawn Foster

New Welcome Lodge, which recruits MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps known as the lobby, both remain active, the Guardian has established.

A third lodge called the Alfred Robbins Lodge, which was also set up for journalists, also continues to meet regularly in London.

The identities of the members of these three lodges remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry, however, and so discreet are the members of Gallery Lodge that few journalists working in the lobby appear to be aware of it.

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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen Knight and/or Martin Short wrote about 'New Welcome Lodge' years ago.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:11 am    Post subject: Re: Masonic journalists in Westminster Parliament Gallery Lo Reply with quote

Then, last weekend, it was revealed that two Freemasons’ lodges operate within Westminster, populated by MPs and political journalists, prompting angry denials that there was anything actually wrong with this from Dr Staples, and leading to the taking out of those adverts.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/freemasons-secret-societ ies-frat-houses-know-groups-clubs-a8202636.html

Well, not quite. It was all in The Spectator and Press Gazette in February 2006

TonyGosling wrote:
Freemasonry in the lobby
http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/blog/2006/02/23/freemasonry-in-the-lobby  /
Posted by Martin Stabe on 23 February 2006 at 04:40pm

Writing in the New Statesman, associate editor Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror notes the Masonic goings-on in the Parliamentary press gallery:

I read in the minutes of the parliamentary press pinny boys the names of an old Times hand, a couple of ex-Express scribes and my former boss at the Press Association news wire, yet disappointingly none of the Gallery galacticos.

Word was that the masons operated two lobby lodges, so perhaps chapter 1928 is the retirees. Anyone who’d like to peruse what this funny-handshake brigade got up to at their 366th convocation should get in touch.

Surely Maguire refers to the minutes of lobby hacks’ Masonic lodge, which, as our very own Axegrinder recently reported, were accidentally e-mailed to MPs by former Daily Express political editor Rob Gibson.

Maguire should get in touch with Paul Linford, who noted that the Westminster hacks’ Masonic lodge was a major topic of gossip during his time as a lobby correspondent.


Parliament Squared
http://paullinford.blogspot.com/2006/01/parliament-squared.html
As an ex-lobby man, this story from the Axe Grinder column in this week's Press Gazette brought a smile to my face...

"Fleet Street veteran Rob Gibson, has learnt the hard way about the dangers of email.

The former Daily Express political editor and dedicated fund-raiser for journalists' charity the NPF now runs the highly regarded Gallery News at the House of Commons. Gibson sends out stories daily to a host of outlets, including MPs at Westminster.

Unfortunately, Gibson sent out one email in error last week that was a little too "exclusive".

To the great man's consternation, it contained the minutes of the latest meeting of his Masonic lodge. Now there's open government for you."

The extent of masonry within the lobby - and the Palace of Westminster as a whole - was a constant source of mischievous speculation during my time there.

Correspondents were frequently baffled to find the chairs in the Lobby Room rearranged with one facing the wrong way - a seating arrangement consistent with the masonic initiation ritual in which the candidate sits blindfolded with his back to the room.

On one memorable occasion, a notorious wind-up merchant in the regional lobby put out a spoof tannoy for the Secretary of the Press Gallery Freemasons' Lodge - such a body does exist.

It was answered by a very well-known Sunday newspaper political editor, who maintained he was simply curious as to who was on the other end of the line.....

Parliamentary Lodge numbers
MPs at Westminster have had their own Masonic lodge since 1929, but the lobby journalists' lodge dates back to 1881. According to Martin Short in Inside the Brotherhood (p.582):

Concern [about the influence of Freemasonry in Parliament] has never been reported by Britain's Parliamentary press. Its silence may have something to do with the fact that a second lodge operates in the Palace of Westminster. Thirty-eight years before MPs had their own New Welcome Lodge [no. 1539], the press lobby had set up the Gallery Lodge (no. 1928).

_________________
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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: Masonic journalists in Westminster Parliament Gallery Lo Reply with quote

Letter of complaint to the Guardian newspaper
http://www.freemasonrytoday.com/ugle-sgc/ugle/letter-of-complaint-to-t he-guardian-newspaper

Tuesday, 06 February 2018

Dear Sir/Madam,

Complaint – Article published on Sunday 4 February

This is a complaint pursuant to your Editorial Code about an article published on Sunday 4 February on your website and in print on Monday 5 February. The article was headlined "Two Freemasons' Lodges Operating Secretly at Westminster" and Ian Cobain was credited with the byline. lt contained significant inaccuracies which created a substantially misleading article. The existence of the two lodges in question is not secret, they don't operate at Westminster and they don't have MPs or journalists in their respective memberships.

ln particular:

The article claimed that "Two Freemasons' lodges set up for members of parliament and political journalists are continuing to operate secretly at Westminster". This is inaccurate. The Lodges do not operate at Westminster and only meet in Camden at Freemasons' Hall.
The article stated "Exclusive: Lodges for MPs and journalists are so covert even lobby reporters do not know members". The Lodges in the article do not have any MPs or journalists as members.
The Lodges are not secret. Their meeting place is open to the public all year and their meeting dates are published in the United Grand Lodge of England directory of Lodges and Chapters available for the public to buy from most Masonic retailers. Details of the founding of the New Welcome Lodge were published in the press including in the Daily Telegraph. The New Welcome Lodge and Gallery Lodge are referred to in Hansard and have had Wikipedia pages for 12 years. Both Lodges feature in publicly available academic articles (on Researchgate, among other resources) and press. A detailed history of Gallery Lodge, together with its past and present members, was published in 1968. lt is wilfully misleading for the Guardian to state that the Lodges operate secretly or to imply that their existence is "secret" or "covert".
The article claimed that "The New Welcome Lodge has about 30 to 40 members ... only about four of the current members are MPs". This is fictitious, as anybody connected with the Lodge would know. New Welcome Lodge only has 22 members. There are no current MPs who are members of New Welcome Lodge.
We provided extensive information and quotes to Ian Cobain in answer to his questions about Freemasonry and he used this information in other contemporaneous articles about Freemasonry. He chose not to ask us about New Welcome Lodge and appears to have ignored all of the widely published and available information about it and Gallery Lodge. He did not provide us with any opportunity to correct the errors in his article. Instead, inaccurate information has been published to create a misleading impression of Freemasonry. The reader is deliberately left to infer that journalists and MPs meet in secret at Westminster as Freemasons, which is untrue and which the author must have known or suspected to be untrue. There is no evidence for, or truth in, these inferences in the article about Freemasonry.

By publishing inaccuracies which foster and promote popular prejudices against Freemasonry concerning corruption, power and control, the article damaged the reputation of the United Grand Lodge of England as a membership organisation and encouraged further discrimination against individual Freemasons.

We request that you publish a retraction of the article in an agreed form which confirms that journalists and MPs don't meet in secret at Westminster as Freemasons. We also request that you publish an apology to Freemasons for misleading the public about the nature of Freemasonry.

Yours faithfully,

Dr David Staples
CEO
For and on behalf of
The United Grand Lodge of England



Mirror removes inaccurate article following IPSO complaint

The United Grand Lodge of England would like to thank the Mirror for removing an…
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Enough is Enough A personal letter by Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United…
Letter of complaint to the Guardian newspaper

Dear Sir/Madam, Complaint – Article published on Sunday 4 February This is a complaint pursuant…
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Whitehall_Bin_Men wrote:
Then, last weekend, it was revealed that two Freemasons’ lodges operate within Westminster, populated by MPs and political journalists, prompting angry denials that there was anything actually wrong with this from Dr Staples, and leading to the taking out of those adverts.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/freemasons-secret-societ ies-frat-houses-know-groups-clubs-a8202636.html

Well, not quite. It was all in The Spectator and Press Gazette in February 2006

TonyGosling wrote:
Freemasonry in the lobby
http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/blog/2006/02/23/freemasonry-in-the-lobby  /
Posted by Martin Stabe on 23 February 2006 at 04:40pm

Writing in the New Statesman, associate editor Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror notes the Masonic goings-on in the Parliamentary press gallery:

I read in the minutes of the parliamentary press pinny boys the names of an old Times hand, a couple of ex-Express scribes and my former boss at the Press Association news wire, yet disappointingly none of the Gallery galacticos.

Word was that the masons operated two lobby lodges, so perhaps chapter 1928 is the retirees. Anyone who’d like to peruse what this funny-handshake brigade got up to at their 366th convocation should get in touch.

Surely Maguire refers to the minutes of lobby hacks’ Masonic lodge, which, as our very own Axegrinder recently reported, were accidentally e-mailed to MPs by former Daily Express political editor Rob Gibson.

Maguire should get in touch with Paul Linford, who noted that the Westminster hacks’ Masonic lodge was a major topic of gossip during his time as a lobby correspondent.


Parliament Squared
http://paullinford.blogspot.com/2006/01/parliament-squared.html
As an ex-lobby man, this story from the Axe Grinder column in this week's Press Gazette brought a smile to my face...

"Fleet Street veteran Rob Gibson, has learnt the hard way about the dangers of email.

The former Daily Express political editor and dedicated fund-raiser for journalists' charity the NPF now runs the highly regarded Gallery News at the House of Commons. Gibson sends out stories daily to a host of outlets, including MPs at Westminster.

Unfortunately, Gibson sent out one email in error last week that was a little too "exclusive".

To the great man's consternation, it contained the minutes of the latest meeting of his Masonic lodge. Now there's open government for you."

The extent of masonry within the lobby - and the Palace of Westminster as a whole - was a constant source of mischievous speculation during my time there.

Correspondents were frequently baffled to find the chairs in the Lobby Room rearranged with one facing the wrong way - a seating arrangement consistent with the masonic initiation ritual in which the candidate sits blindfolded with his back to the room.

On one memorable occasion, a notorious wind-up merchant in the regional lobby put out a spoof tannoy for the Secretary of the Press Gallery Freemasons' Lodge - such a body does exist.

It was answered by a very well-known Sunday newspaper political editor, who maintained he was simply curious as to who was on the other end of the line.....

Parliamentary Lodge numbers
MPs at Westminster have had their own Masonic lodge since 1929, but the lobby journalists' lodge dates back to 1881. According to Martin Short in Inside the Brotherhood (p.582):

Concern [about the influence of Freemasonry in Parliament] has never been reported by Britain's Parliamentary press. Its silence may have something to do with the fact that a second lodge operates in the Palace of Westminster. Thirty-eight years before MPs had their own New Welcome Lodge [no. 1539], the press lobby had set up the Gallery Lodge (no. 1928).

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Article from earlier this month now massively amended after complaints by
United Grand Lodge of England

• This article was the subject of a public complaint by the UGLE and an investigation by the Guardian readers’ editor. On 20 February 2018, consistent with the readers’ editor’s conclusions, the article was amended to remove a misleading impression conveyed by the original headline, subheading and opening to the effect that the existence of the three named lodges was secret or covert, that they met secretly at the Palace of Westminster, and that New Welcome Lodge had MPs among its membership currently. As the body of the article reported from the outset, the lodges meet at Freemasons’ Hall, the UGLE headquarters at Covent Garden. The lodges’ existence has been public for many years, and two of them have Wikipedia pages. The UGLE says no MPs are currently members of New Welcome Lodge, and that its records do not show “lobby journalist” as the profession of any of its members but it cannot say with certainty that there are no lobby journalists who are UGLE Freemasons. In response to the readers’ editor’s request for the number – not names or lodges, if the UGLE was constrained from disclosing them – of current MPs who are Freemasons, the UGLE said its chief executive believed that fewer than 10 MPs were UGLE Freemasons and that typically they were members of a lodge local to their constituency.

Whitehall_Bin_Men wrote:
Two Freemasons' lodges operating secretly at Westminster
Exclusive: Lodges for MPs and journalists are so covert even lobby reporters do not know members

Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons
The Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament

Ian Cobain
Sun 4 Feb 2018 14.00 GMT Last modified on Mon 5 Feb 2018 10.06 GMT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/04/two-freemasons-lodges -operating-secretly-at-westminster

Two Freemasons’ lodges set up for members of parliament and political journalists are continuing to operate secretly at Westminster, the Guardian has learned.

New Welcome Lodge, which recruits MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps known as the lobby, both remain active, according to Freemasonry records.

A third lodge called the Alfred Robbins Lodge, which was also set up for journalists, also continues to meet regularly in London.

The identities of the members of these three lodges remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry, however, and so discreet are the members of Gallery Lodge that few journalists working in the lobby appear to be aware of its existence.

Q&A
What is Freemasonry?

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One current member of New Welcome told the Guardian that its members keep Gallery Lodge masons at arm’s length, on the grounds that while they are fellow members of the brotherhood, they are still journalists, and “they wouldn’t want journalists listening to their conversations”.

Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons

David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, said there was no contradiction between the practice of journalism and membership of Freemasonry.


“Contrary to populist perception, being a Freemason helps those members in roles serving society in the broader sense, including journalists, politicians, policemen and lawyers, to be better in those jobs by encouraging them to act as better people themselves. Their membership is a positive for both them as individuals, and for society at large,” he said.

More Freemasons would declare their membership, he added, if they did not fear prejudice and discrimination: “There should be no conflict between an individual choosing whether to declare their membership or not with that individual’s ability to do their job well. But there is, because some choose to believe otherwise, and some of our detractors are doing so based on nothing other than blind prejudice.”

Q&A
Have you had any experience of being a Freemason?

Show
The disclosure that both political journalists and politicians are Freemasons comes after the outgoing chair of the Police Federation alleged that Freemasons were blocking reforms in policing and thwarting the progress of women and officers from black and minority ethnic communities.

Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us | Duncan Campbell

After three years as the chair of the Police Federation, Steve White said: “I found that there were people who were fundamentally against any kind of change and any kind of progress, and they always happened to be Freemasons.”

The charge brought an angry denial from the UGLE. In a letter to the press, Staples said: “We are quietly proud that throughout history, when people have suffered discrimination both in public and social life, Freemasonry has welcomed them into our lodges as equals.” He added that many Freemasons chose to keep their membership secret in order to avoid being discriminated against.

At Westminster, MPs and peers are not obliged to declare their membership of the Freemasons, although the Commons authorities say they can disclose this information voluntarily on the registers of members’ and Lords’ financial interests. None currently do so.

Nor do any political journalists declare their membership of the Freemasons on the register of journalists’ interests, which is maintained by parliament.

The three lodges each meet four times a year at Freemasons’ Hall, the UGLE’s headquarters in Covent Garden, London.

The UGLE said Gallery Lodge currently has 45 members and Alfred Robbins Lodge – which is named after a former newspaperman and prominent mason – has 18 members.

“None of the members who have joined either of these two lodges since 2000 have their occupation recorded as journalist or anything obviously linked to the newspaper industry,” the spokesman said.

It is unclear how many of their members joined before that year, however, and UGLE will not identify the lodges’ members.

The Guardian understands past members of Gallery Lodge have included former journalists at the Times, the Daily Express, the Scotsman, and several Hansard reporters.

While the New Welcome lodge has about 30 to 40 members, the Guardian understands only about four of the current members are MPs, and that none are peers. Most of the members of the lodge are former MPs, parliamentary staff or police officers who have served at Westminster. MPs who are Freemasons are members of other lodges, however.

Freemasons Hall in central London. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Although New Welcome lodge was set up following the 1926 general strike, to admit Labour politicians who had previously been refused entry to Freemasonry, the Guardian understands that none of its current members are Labour MPs.

Many are said to have left the Freemasons in the 1980s, fearing they would lose their seats if they were questioned about membership while reapplying for the Labour party’s nomination in between general elections, which had become a requirement at the start of that decade.

At least one Labour MP is said to have left New Welcome Lodge when facing reselection at this time, and arranged for his membership to be held in abeyance so that he could be quietly readmitted once he knew his parliamentary seat was secure.



redacted and altered article


Two Freemasons' lodges set up at Westminster are continuing to operate

Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons

Ian Cobain

Sun 4 Feb 2018 14.00 GMT
Last modified on Fri 23 Feb 2018 12.59 GMT

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The Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament
The Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Two Freemasons’ lodges set up more than 80 years ago for members of parliament and political journalists are continuing to operate, the Guardian has learned.

New Welcome Lodge, which set up to recruit MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps known as the lobby, both remain active, according to Freemasonry records.

The United Grand Lodge of England says that no MPs or lobby journalists are members of those lodges. However, it has confirmed that several MPs are Freemasons.

A third lodge called the Alfred Robbins Lodge, which was also set up for journalists, also continues to meet regularly in London.

The identities of the members of these three lodges remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry, however, and so discreet are the members of Gallery Lodge that few journalists working in the lobby appear to be aware of its existence.
Q&A
What is Freemasonry?

One current member of New Welcome told the Guardian that its members keep Gallery Lodge masons at arm’s length, on the grounds that while they are fellow members of the brotherhood, they are still journalists, and “they wouldn’t want journalists listening to their conversations”.
Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons
Read more

David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, said there was no contradiction between the practice of journalism and membership of Freemasonry.

“Contrary to populist perception, being a Freemason helps those members in roles serving society in the broader sense, including journalists, politicians, policemen and lawyers, to be better in those jobs by encouraging them to act as better people themselves. Their membership is a positive for both them as individuals, and for society at large,” he said.

More Freemasons would declare their membership, he added, if they did not fear prejudice and discrimination: “There should be no conflict between an individual choosing whether to declare their membership or not with that individual’s ability to do their job well. But there is, because some choose to believe otherwise, and some of our detractors are doing so based on nothing other than blind prejudice.”
Q&A
Have you had any experience of being a Freemason?

The disclosure that both journalists and politicians are Freemasons comes after the outgoing chair of the Police Federation alleged that Freemasons were blocking reforms in policing and thwarting the progress of women and officers from black and minority ethnic communities.
Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us
Duncan Campbell
Read more

After three years as the chair of the Police Federation, Steve White said: “I found that there were people who were fundamentally against any kind of change and any kind of progress, and they always happened to be Freemasons.”

The charge brought an angry denial from the UGLE. In a letter to the press, Staples said: “We are quietly proud that throughout history, when people have suffered discrimination both in public and social life, Freemasonry has welcomed them into our lodges as equals.” He added that many Freemasons chose to keep their membership secret in order to avoid being discriminated against.

At Westminster, MPs and peers are not obliged to declare their membership of the Freemasons, although the Commons authorities say they can disclose this information voluntarily on the registers of members’ and Lords’ financial interests. None currently do so.

Nor do any political journalists declare their membership of the Freemasons on the register of journalists’ interests, which is maintained by parliament.

The three lodges each meet four times a year at Freemasons’ Hall, the UGLE’s headquarters in Covent Garden, London.

The UGLE said Gallery Lodge currently has 45 members and Alfred Robbins Lodge, which is named after a former newspaperman and prominent mason, has 18 members.

“None of the members who have joined either of these two lodges since 2000 have their occupation recorded as journalist or anything obviously linked to the newspaper industry,” the spokesman said.

It is unclear how many of their members joined before that year, however, and UGLE will not identify the lodges’ members.

The Guardian understands past members of Gallery Lodge have included former journalists at the Times, the Daily Express, the Scotsman, and several Hansard reporters.

The New Welcome lodge has 22 members. Most of the members of the lodge are former MPs, parliamentary staff or police officers who have served at Westminster. MPs who are Freemasons are members of other lodges, however.
Freemasons Hall in central London
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Freemasons Hall in central London. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

New Welcome lodge was set up following the 1926 general strike, to admit Labour politicians who had previously been refused entry to Freemasonry.
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Many are said to have left the Freemasons in the 1980s, fearing they would lose their seats if they were questioned about membership while reapplying for the Labour party’s nomination in between general elections, which had become a requirement at the start of that decade.

At least one Labour MP is said to have left New Welcome Lodge when facing reselection at this time, and arranged for his membership to be held in abeyance so that he could be quietly readmitted once he knew his parliamentary seat was secure.

_________________
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"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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