Cheshire East Council officers recommended that current rules on declarations of interest were maintained ahead of the latest audit and governance committee meeting.

But Cllr Nick Mannion proposed that councillors should declare all outside organisations that either they  – or their partner –  are members of – in order to boost the public’s confidence in the local authority.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of CEC’s Labour group, agreed with Cllr Mannion .

The member for Sandbach Heath and East added that the Freemasons should not be singled out, and so membership to all outside bodies should be declared.

Cllr Gill Merry, Conservative member for Sandbach Elworth, reminded the committee that councillors already have to declare any interests they have which could cause conflict when a subject is being debated or voted on. She said: “Others knowing that person may well believe and know that they are members of an organisation which could have a direct impact on the matter being discussed,” she said. That has always been my position. I really couldn’t care less whether I declare what I am a member of or not, however it might mean that I have to keep coming into [CEC headquarters] Westfields to alter my declaration as I join something and leave something else.

“I really cannot see that it helps in any way to declare these organisations.”