MORE long serving parish councillors have been denied the chance to continue serving the community after refusing to sign the Government's new code of conduct.

Councillors at Sowerby and Masham have been, or are about to be, declared ineligible after declining to sign the code, which requires them to declare their financial interests.

In Masham, the council chairman, Peter Nicklas, vice-chairman Bob Thomson, together with Frank Howarth and Mack Iveson have decided the requirements of the code are an intrusion and violation of privacy.

They expect to receive letters today debarring them from attending meetings because they have decided not to sign.

Coun Nicklas said: "I have worked for the parish council for years, for no payment, and have done my best.

"I have nothing to hide but do not wish to be tarred with the same brush as some MPs, county and borough councillors, and I resent being classed as not being honest and so I have decided not sign this code of conduct."

In Sowerby, Couns Bill Bell and Bob Smith have between them served the council for more than 50 years.

This week they said that over the past 25 years their integrity and honesty had never been questioned. As a matter of principle, they felt unable to continue.

In May three members of Aiskew Parish Council stood down over the issue.