DUP says none of its MPs are Freemasons
THE DUP has said none of its MPs are Freemasons after it was reported that two of the organisation's lodges continuing to operate secretly at Westminster.
The New Welcome Lodge, which recruits MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps, both remain active, according to Freemasonry records.
The Alfred Robbins Lodge, which was set up for journalists, also continues to meet regularly in London, The Guardian newspaper reported.
The identities of lodge members generally remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry, which dates back centuries and is known for its secret rituals.
Last year the outgoing chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales suggested that Freemasons were blocking reforms in policing and thwarting the progress of women and officers from black and minority ethnic communities.
The allegations were rejected by the organisation, which describes itself as one of the world's largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.
At Westminster, MPs and peers are not obliged to declare their membership of the Freemasons, although they can disclose this information voluntarily on the registers of members' interests. None currently do so.
There are thought to be around 18,000 Freemasons in Northern Ireland, though it is understood that membership of the secular organisation is frowned upon by evangelical churches.
The Ulster Unionists also said former MPs Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott were not masons.