Masonic rights

28th November 1997 at 00:00
They like a good stramash at Glasgow education committee and Chris Mason, Liberal Democrat leader, is always happy to cast the first blow.

Plans to exclude non-Catholics from popular Catholic schools, or to put it another way, reform the placing request regulations, caused a bit of a stir in the city of Celtic and Rangers. Mason, the man with a surname likely to arouse suspicion among the Roman brethren, called for a free vote among the split Labour group, who only narrowly backed the reforms.

Malcolm Green, emollient education convener, deflected the attack. "That's a matter for group discipline," he quietly replied. Group and discipline are two concepts rather foreign to the brothers and sisters. Kenny Gibson, SNP leader, backed the Mason line, as did Tory Catherine Lyon. John Young, Tory leader - or to put that another way, the only other Tory - sat stumm.

"Split in the Tory group," cried the massed Labour ranks, rather gleefully. "We have democracy," Young smugly responded.

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