Disgraced former bank boss was investigated for sending an email with alleged ‘sexual connotations’ to colleagues in 2005.
A disgraced banker caught on camera apparently buying drugs was investigated about his conduct eight years ago, it has emerged.
Paul Flowers, the former Co-op Bank chairman, Methodist minister and local councillor, was forced to refer himself to the Standards Board for England for sending a “joke” message that is alleged to have “sexual connotations” to council colleagues in 2005.
Although councillors who had been sent the message raised their concerns with the council at the time, five years later Mr Flowers was selected by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, for his Business and Industry Advisory Group.
Mr Flowers, 63, has now been suspended from the Party and his church after film footage apparently showed him discussing the purchase of class A drugs.
He is being investigated by police after being caught on camera apparently trying to buy crystal meth, cocaine and ketamine. He has now said his actions were “stupid” and “wrong”.
He was reported to have bought drugs days after giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee on how the bank lost £700 million. When Mr Flowers appeared before the committee he was criticised for apparently lacking a grasp of the basic facts about the bank or the issues surrounding it. He is not expected to be recalled, but the scandal has put more pressure on regulators to increase checks on people appointed to senior banking roles.
Following the drug investigations it has since emerged that in 2011 Mr Flowers was forced to resign from Bradford council after adult content was found on his computer when he handed it in for repairs. At the time he cited “personal reasons” and increased responsibilities at the Co-operative Banking Group for leaving the council.
Following the latest disclosures, Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, has written to Ed Miliband telling him the behaviour and actions of Mr Flowers have “shocked and appalled the public”.
“They have also raised serious questions about the Labour Party to which you have not yet adequately responded,” he wrote. Mr Shapps added that people asking “honest” questions about how much the Labour party knew about Mr Flowers’ past were met with a “wall of silence”.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls’ office has said that he will not give back a donation from the Co-operative Group of £50,000, made in March 2012 when Mr Flowers was chairman of the bank and a director of the group.
Len Wardle, the Co-op Group chairman, yesterday resigned, citing “serious questions” raised by the scandal surrounding former banking chairman.
Mr Wardle had earlier announced his decision to retire next year, but the Co-op Group said he has now resigned “with immediate effect”.
A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “A conviction more than 20 years previously does not prevent anyone from standing for election as, or serving as, a local councillor.
“The Standards Board for England concluded that the ‘e-mail’ incident was not serious enough to require an investigation. That was a decision for the Standards Board for England, not Bradford Council.”