Former Co-op bank chairman and methodist minister in drugs scandal

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Britain may not be able to produce anything quite as neon and brash as the Rob Ford scandal, but we certainly trump our Canadian cousins on the raw hypocrisy scale. The Co-operative Bank's former chairman Paul Flowers has been exposed for buying a broad spectrum of illegal drugs including cocaine, crystal meth and ketamine, according video footage obtained by the Mail on Sunday showing the Methodist minister handing over money for the purchase of illicit substances.

The footage was apparently taken just days after Flowers had appeared before the Treasury select committee to explain the bank's £700m in losses and its doomed bid to buy up branches of the bailed-out Lloyds Bank.

He was shopped to the paper by his ‘friend’, 26 year old Stuart Davies who claims he did so because he was ‘disgusted by the hypocrisy’. Davies not only handed over video, but a series of incriminating text messages, many of which are timed around the select committee appearance.

In one text, Flowers wrote how his plans for a party were 'turning into a two day, drug fuelled gay orgy!!!' In another, he boasted of how he was 'snorting some good stuff'. That was sent on the day he was first scheduled to appear at the Commons. And last week, he said in a text: 'I'm on ket tonight.'

Rev. Flowers said in a statement: 'This year has been incredibly difficult, with a death in the family and the pressures of my role with the Co-operative 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.'

The thing is, one might almost feel sorry for Flowers and sensibly demand a debate into whether private drug taking impacts public life as much as tabloid hysteria implies. Except for in this particular case, Flowers had chaired the anti-drugs charity Lifeline and written columns about the evils of drug use, the contradiction of which makes him a less than ideal test subject for a sensible debate regarding the realities of recreational drugs

The Co-operative Bank said last night: 'We can make no comment on these allegations which are of a personal nature and being made against a former board member.'

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