Co-op former chief and Methodist minister suspended following drugs allegations
The Reverend Paul Flowers, formerly chairman of the Co-operative Bank, has been suspended from his duties by the Methodist Church following reports that he bought and used illegal drugs including crystal meth and crack cocaine.
The Mail on Sunday released a video apparently showing Mr Flowers spending £300 in a covert drugs deal, in addition to a series of text messages boasting of drug use and holding "drug fuelled" parties.
The Reverend resigned from his position as chairman of the Co-operative Bank in June, after the breakdown of a deal to buy hundred of branches of Lloyds Bank.
The video footage released on Sunday was allegedly filmed just three days after the minister gave a confused speech to MPs on the House of Commons Treasury Committee on 6 November.
The minister, who has served as director of the Lifeline Project which helps tackle drug and alcohol addiction, has released a statement through the Methodist Church saying his actions were "stupid and wrong".
His statement read: "This year has been incredibly difficult, with a death in the family and the pressures of my role with the Cooperative Bank. At the lowest point in this terrible period, I did things that were stupid and wrong. I am sorry for this, and I am seeking professional help, and apologise to all I have hurt or failed by my actions."
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A spokesperson for the Methodist Church confirmed his suspension.
"We expect high standards of our ministers and we have procedures in place for when ministers fail to meet those standards," the spokesperson said.
"Paul is suspended from duties for a period of three weeks, pending investigations, and will not be available to carry out any ministerial work. We will also work with the police if they feel a crime has been committed."
The Church is asking for prayer for all those involved in and affected by the claims.