Tory Chairman Grant Shapps asks Miliband about links to Paul Flowers
Tory Chairman Grant Shapps has written to Labour leader Ed Miliband over revelations gay former Co-op banking chairman Paul Flowers resigned from Bradford Council in 2011 after “inappropriate but not illegal adult content” was found on a computer he used.
ITV news reports Mr Shapps has asked Mr Miliband the following questions: “Were you aware that Paul Flowers had resigned from Bradford Council over inappropriate adult material on his computer at the time you appointed him to your advisory group?
“Was your Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, aware of this when he accepted £50,000 to fund his personal office?
“When you met Mr Flowers on 6 March 2013, did you discuss the £1.2 million loan agreement that the Labour Party entered into with the Co-operative bank, just weeks later?
Mr Shapps also asked Mr Miliband about the advice Mr Flowers gave to Labour on their banking and economic policy, and whether the party would continue to accept money from the wider Co-op group whilst the current investigation is underway.
The 63-year-old Methodist minister and former Bradford City councillor said his actions were “stupid” and “wrong”. He has been suspended from both the Labour Party and his church.
Mr Flowers is also a former chair of drugs charity Lifeline.
The Mail on Sunday published footage showing Mr Flowers discussing a purchase of cocaine and crystal meth from a dealer in Leeds.
He was exposed to the paper by Stuart Davies, a 26-year-old man he’d met on Grindr at the beginning of October.
Mr Flowers was the £132,000-a-year chairman of the Co-op Bank from 2010 until May this year when he stepped down as the bank narrowly avoided financial collapse.
On 6 November, Mr Flowers was grilled by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee over the bank’s disastrous performance.
He told the committee the Co-op’s balance sheets had £3bn of assets, when it was actually £47bn.
He also failed to answer questions about the amount of loans on the bank’s books.
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Geoff Reid, a Lib Dem councillor in Bradford and retired Methodist minister who has known Mr Flowers for 30 years, told BBC Radio 5 live: “He [Mr Flowers] can be very generous, very gifted as a speaker either in the pulpit or the council chamber, and at the same time he can be subject to incredible lack of judgement.
“I don’t think the Co-operative Bank got the political nous they thought they were paying for.”
It’s also been revealed Mr Flowers was convicted of gross indecency in 1981, reportedly over a sex act in a public toilet.
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