A secret service: 5,000 Masons meet behind closed doors to set up Capital's grand lodge

The Independent, UK

By Cahal Milmo

02 October 2003

To the untrained eye it looked like a convention of dry cleaners - thousands of middle-aged men in dark suits milling around outside a London landmark all carrying identical plastic suit carriers. The only clue to the true identity of the 5,000 individuals who squeezed into the Royal Albert Hall yesterday was the gold lettering printed on the side of each of the dry cleaning-style blue bags: "Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London. October 1st 2003." The largest gathering of Britain's freemasons in more than a decade was a suitably discrete affair. The day-long ceremony in the famous concert hall marked the formation of a new central organisation for the capital's 1,585 lodges. For, despite a comprehensive effort to dispel its image as a secretive brotherhood dedicated to protecting the mutual interests of its rolled trouser-legged membership, the masonic movement still prefers to conduct its business behind closed doors.

To the satisfaction of many of those waiting to attend the second of the day's ceremonies, headed by the Duke of Kent, who as Grand Master is Britain's top mason, the Home Office yesterday confirmed it has dropped plans to require all freemasons in the police service and criminal justice system to identify themselves.......... Home Office sources confirmed that the compulsory registration scheme, proposed after a parliamentary select committee found in 2000 that there had been cases of improper masonic influence in the criminal justice system, was dropped after the United Grand Lodge, the umbrella body for freemasons in England Wales, claimed it would breach the Human Rights Act.

But ministers are to continue to press the issue with police chiefs after a voluntary scheme put in place by Jack Straw when he was Home Secretary recorded rates of registration for police officers far below those of 88 per cent for magistrates and 96 per cent for judges. Ten of Britain's 43 police forces refused to take part..............

NOTE: Great Britain's leadership is strongly Masonic!