PARISH councils are in crisis over a new code of conduct, it was claimed today.
At least four Holme Valley parish councillors stood down in anger at the last elections because they did not want to declare their financial interests.
Hundreds of others across the country decided against seeking re-election.
It was a gross invasion of privacy to be forced to make their financial details public, said Clr Ken Sims, deputy leader of the Conservative group on Kirklees Council.
"It's heavy handed and draconian to expect parish councillors to sign.
"Parish councillors are not paid, don't receive expenses or attendance allowances, and do not handle large budgets," he said.
Each member of a parish council is obliged - within 28 days of election - to sign up to the code and to record their financial and other interests in a publicly accessible register.
Details of financial interests and membership of organisations must be declared.
The Tory Party has pledged to abolish the new code if it wins power at the next General Election.
Clr Sims said: "Conservatives are standing up for local parish councils in the face of growing Whitehall interference.
"Labour's draconian code of conduct is discouraging more people getting involved in this vital tier of community life."
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