Letter: Masonic link

Your Leader (21 July) on the terms of reference of the phone-hacking inquiry makes a good case for keeping a narrow focus.

But in order to do the inquiry justice heed must also be taken of the concerns of journalist Nick Davies of the Guardian, who in June revealed that one of the rogue investigators used by several newspapers, Jonathan Rees, had used his membership of the Freemasons to gain information from corrupt policemen, customs officers, tax officials and bank employees.

This claim was repeated in the House of Commons by Tom Watson MP and led to Simon Hughes MP demanding that any inquiry into phone hacking should be headed by a non-Masonic judge; if one could be found.

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In April 1985, following another Masonic scandal, the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Kenneth Newman, told his officers not to join the Masons and cautioned those who were members to quit. Newman said this was necessary if his men were to enjoy the confidence of the public.

Cocking a snook at Newman in 1986 the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London consecrated a new lodge for the exclusive use of Met officers. The lodge number 9,179 is known as the Manor of St James and is one of 1,600 Masonic lodges in London.

In my experience, freemasonry, the very antithesis of meritocracy, may go some way towards explaining the corruption and incompetence of the Met officers, as well as the cosy relationship between the Met, government and News International.

Masonic membership declarations of those taking part in the Leveson Inquiry are essential if the probe is to have the confidence of the public.

Tom Minogue

Victoria Terrace

Dunfermline, Fife

Congratulations to Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 22 July) for her exposition of the Acton hypothesis: "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

I would suggest that copies of her superbly detailed critique should be mandatory reading for all those aspirants with, as she mentioned, inter alia, "a strong mutual aversion to too many inconvenient truths".

But then that might be a case of "casting pearls before swine".

J A Allen Fleming

Joppa Park


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