We have published a number of posts about the disproportionate representation of members of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 in top jobs at the City of London*, and more specifically about them holding the plum role of lord mayor. Anyone passionate about gender equality will have a huge problem with the City council allowing this men only fraternity to meet for free on its premises when only two women have ever been lord mayor, and yet more than two thirds of those who have held this post since 1905 have belonged to this one freemasonic lodge. Membership of fraternity 3116 massively increases the probability of someone becoming lord mayor of London, and so while it remains a single sex organisation it should be banned from the premises of the local authority it has such a grip on, as one way of beginning to dismantle the glass ceiling preventing women reaching the top of this council.
Moving on, many City of London councillors who are masons indicate their subscriptions to this boys club on their register of interests without specifying which lodges they belong to. Given the huge influence of various masonic lodges on City politics – and this extents beyond the Guildhall Lodge – in the interests of transparency City councillors listing all the lodges to which they belong on their register of interests would be a huge improvement on the current situation.
Simon Duckworth in his masonic cosplay rags, bottom left in blue apron, at the Metropolitan Grand Lodge investiture on 3 November 2016.
To give a specific example, while Bishopsgate common councillor Simon D’Olier Duckworth is a senior mason, he only indicates this involvement through listing ‘Masonic Charitable Foundation’ on his register of interests. This is not unusual and we are NOT suggesting that Duckworth has in any way failed to meet the legal requirements for his register of interests. Our point is rather that given the disproportionate number of masons from specific lodges at the top of the City of London council, the current legal requirements to do not go far enough. Our impression is that this problem is the result of the peculiar political system in the City of London – including business votes – and that it might also be resolved by the democratic reform of this local authority. Outside the City of London we are not aware of the influence of specific masonic lodges on top council appointments being such as issue, and if there are any other examples we’d expect that they are few and far between across the rest of England.
From Arena Magazine, issue 23, Winter 2016. Note that Duckworth’s fellow common councillor and sheriff elect, Chris Hayward, is listed as a grand inspector for the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, while Duckworth is a deputy grand master. Among those also closely connected to the City of London but not listed here are is the Met’s grand master and former head of the common council ‘Sir’ Michael Snyder.
*Information on how many lord mayors belonged to the Guildhall Lodge can be found in various places. The Paviors Lodge 5646 puts it like this on it’s website: “The Guildhall Lodge Number 3116 was established in 1905 for the Aldermen and Common Councillors of the City of London. To date, no less that 78 Masters of this distinguished lodge have also been Lord Mayors of the City of London.” This might well be taken as indicating behind the scenes influence at the Guildhall. See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180614000430/https://www.paviorslodge.org.uk/home/affiliations/
Simon Duckworth register of interests: https://web.archive.org/web/20190729221611/http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgDeclarationSubmission.aspx?UID=151&HID=2965&FID=0&HPID=506092582
“Lt.-Col. Simon D’Olier Duckworth1. M, #505899… is the son of John Alexander D’Olier Duckworth. He married Lady Caroline Sara Frances Primrose, daughter of Neil Archibald Primrose, 7th Earl of Rosebery and Alison Mary Deirdre Reid, on 20 October 2012. He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers. He was appointed Officer, Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of Greater London in 2008. He held the office of Lieutenant of the City of London in 2010.” See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190430032757/http://www.thepeerage.com/p50590.htm
“Simon D’Olier DUCKWORTH. Total number of (company) appointments 4. Date of birth: 16 November 1964. GREEN FINANCE INITIATIVE LTD (11963728)… Director. Appointed on 25 April 2019… Occupation: Aim Company Chairman… MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION (09751836) Role…Director, appointed on 27 August 2015… Occupation: Investment Trust Company Director. ADEPT4 PLC (05259846)… Appointed on 29 June 2015… THE GRAND CHARITY (01487345)… Appointed on 1 April 2016, resigned on 15 September 2016…” See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190729222434/https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/1lXhXLpIKd-vOYkAjGiZAkhzvTE/appointments
Simon Duckworth Esq OBE DL Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Southwark. Appointed Rep DL: 2016
Southwark Appointed Representative Deputy Lieutenant (for the British monarch) in March 2016. Born and educated in SW London, Simon is a Cambridge graduate who has a range of non-executive roles in the public and private sectors. A former Chairman of the City of London Police Authority, Simon chaired the National Olympics Security Oversight Group from 2009-12, and was then tasked by the Home Office to establish the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, where he serves as a Board Member. He helped to set up and develop the National Crime Agency and is currently the senior non-executive Director at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Simon briefly served with the HAC in the early 1980s but was recalled to duty as Deputy Hon.Colonel of the Royal Military Police in 2012, a rather unexpected promotion! He was appointed as the Hon.Colonel of the newly formed 1 MP Brigade in 2015; he is also Vice-Chairman of the City’s RFCA.
Simon has been a member of the City’s Court of Common Council since 2000, he was appointed a DL in 2008, and then as one of HM’s Lieutenants for the City of London in 2010. Married to Caroline, they live in Southwark, a stone’s throw from the IWM, but spend parts of the year at Caroline’s parental home on the southern shore of the Firth of Firth just outside Edinburgh.
An election leaflet for the post of Bishopsgate alderman – currently held by Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, a long time Labour Party politician who represents Bishopsgate as an independent – was uploaded to Duckworth’s political website on 23 December 2018. This leaflet can be found using web searches but currently isn’t readily available to visitors to Duckworth’s City of London councillor site. Despite its upload last Christmas there is at least an outside possibility this was for archiving purposes and the undated publication was part of Duckworth’s unsuccessful campaign to become alderman in 2014, or formed part of it but wasn’t used – it features the same slogan as a letter we know was part of Duckworth’s aldermanic election drive five years ago when he lost to Patricia Scotland. However since we can expect a Bishopsgate alderman election by around the end of next year, it is also possible Duckworth is preparing to take another shot at gaining this office: https://web.archive.org/web/20190729224610/http://www.simonduckworth.london/pdf/SimonDuckworth_BishopsgateElection.pdf
Despite Duckworth branding himself as ‘committed, connected, experienced, proven’, this cack-handed neo-liberal politician hands his critics a gift in his somewhat obscure alderman campaign leaflet. This takes the form of a picture of Duckworth squatting down among bin bags with the headline ‘rubbish’ – and that is exactly what we think of Duckworth’s right-wing politics. Not the kind of mistake a ‘committed, connected, experienced, proven’ politician like Patricia Scotland would make…
In what was definitely 2014 aldermanic election material, Duckworth shamelessly tried to exploit the fact he’s operating in a rotten borough in desperate need of democratic reform and with hardly any electors… anyone who believed in fair play would have been campaigning to have both the business vote and the office of alderman abolished, as well as the ward boundaries redraw. Duckworth instead sees this democratic deficit as an opportunity to grab himself an ‘elected’ office. He stated:
You can read the piece of campaign literature this is taken from in its entirety here: https://web.archive.org/web/20190729234439/http://www.simonduckworth.london/pdf/SimonDuckworth_LetterToVoters.pdf
In wider roles, Simon has been a governor of the Sir John Cass primary school, the City of London Freeman’s’ School, an Independent school in Surrey, and also City University, London. He is currently Vice Chairman of Gresham College, one of London’s oldest tertiary education bodies delivering public lectures across a wide range of subjects…
Simon holds a number of non-executive positions in the public and private sectors and is currently the senior non executive Board Member at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Chairman of Barings Targeted Return Fund, the latter based in Bishopsgate. He was a non executive Director of Fidelity’s flagship European Values Investment Trust for a decade, and has sat on the Boards of a number of AIM listed companies as a non executive director. Simon was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London in 2008, and as one of HM’s Lieutenants for the City of London in 2010.
A member of the Skinners’s Company since 1981, Simon is also a member of the Parish Clerks’ Company, a Trustee of The Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards Trust, a Life Governor of the Sheriffs and Recorder’s Fund, and a Life Governor of the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy.
Simon is currently Deputy Governor of the Honourable the Irish Society, the body charged with overseeing the City’s… interests in Northern Ireland…. He is Vice Chairman of the Reserve Forces and Cadets’ Association and was appointed by the Queen as Deputy Honorary Colonel of the Royal Military Police in 2012, an appointment in which he is actively engaged, helping to develop and oversee service policing policies and strategy.
Simon is married to Caroline, who has worked in retail and private banking for over twenty years, and they divide their lives between London, where they own a small flat off Bishopsgate, and an old farmhouse in Hampshire which they share with Bob and Fred….Caroline’s horses!
Left to right: Simon Duckworth, Andy Fyfe, Theresa May, Mike Weatherley, Henry Pollard, Steve Head.