16 Apr 2014

Former Co-op bank boss Flowers charged on drug offences

West Yorkshire Police charge the former chairman of the Co-op bank with two counts of possessing a class A drug and one of possessing a class C drug.

The 63-year-old former Methodist minister was bailed to appear before Leeds magistrates court on 7 May.

Arriving at Stainbeck police station in Leeds, Mr Flowers, who had to force his way through a scrum of waiting photographers and television camera crews, described the press as “vultures”.

Mr Flowers stood down as the chairman of the troubled Co-operative bank in June 2013, when claims of illegal drug use and inappropriate expenses payments became public.

The bank confirmed last year that it was looking to recover a total of £31,000 in contractual payments made to Mr Flowers.

Following the allegations that Mr Flowers had bought and used illegal drugs Mr Flowers was suspended by both the Labour Party and the Methodist Church. It also emerged that he quit as a Labour councillor in Bradford after porn was found on his computer, although at the time he claimed he was leaving due to pressure of work.

In 2004 he resigned from a Manchester-based charity Lifeline Project after an investigation over his expenses claims.

Clare Stevens, from the Crown Prosecution Service’s complex casework unit in Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “Following a review of the evidence, I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Paul Flowers with possession of Class A and Class C drugs relating to an incident on November 9 2013.”