From: PC Gallagher, Embsay, Skipton.
I WAS, until recently, a parish councillor in the small village where I live.
Although we had all (councillors) registered our outside interests, as we do every year, we have now been told to fill in another form from central government to not only fill in our outside interests as councillors, but to fill in the form for our wives, husbands and partners as well. As our spouses/partners take no part in the functions of the council, why should they have to be on the form?
There will obviously be naive people who will say that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, but they are missing the point.
I am sure that I will not be the only councillor who has resigned because of this issue.
This relentless information gathering on behalf of central Government should be a worry to us all.
I read in the Yorkshire Post the other day that Baroness Warsi, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has been told she will face no action in the case of her claiming expenses for renting a property when she was living there free.
We are all presumed guilty now, unless we can prove our innocence, unless we are MPs, who seem to flout conventional thinking on expenses.
People have to remember that parish councillors are not paid: not for them fat expenses or flash civic functions.
They give their time freely to put something back into the communities where they live.
What a pity that greedy politicians seem to think that we are just like them.
Instead, such councillors, in my experience, have the commitment and integrity which freeloading Westminster politicians seem to lack.