Disgraced former Co-op bank chairman Paul Flowers sends letter to church seeking retirement

Paul Flowers

Paul Flowers

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Disgraced former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers is seeking to retire as a Methodist minister in Bradford.

The Reverend Flowers, who is being investigated by police about alleged use of illegal drugs, has written to the Church asking to stand down.

But it will not be made known until this summer whether or not he can “sit down” – an official term used by the Methodist Church when its ministers stop serving and stop drawing a wage.

The decision of the Church's Ministerial Synod on whether his request is accepted or rejected will be announced at the Methodist Conference in July.

A spokesman for the Methodist Church yesterday confirmed a letter asking to retire had been received from Mr Flowers, but added even if he was given permission to retire a Church probe into his conduct will continue.

The Methodist Church suspended him on full-pay last November pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against him which followed exposure about his lifestyle and alleged drugs use.

He is on police bail in connection with alleged drugs supply offences after being arrested by West Yorkshire Police officers in the Liverpool area last year.

Although his Facebook site claims he is now living in Manchester, according to the Church he is still living in his rent-free Methodist manse in Great Horton, Bradford.

“Methodist ministers have to get permission to reside out of the manse, but it would not be unusual for him to be making plans to move out if he was wanting to sit down,” said the church spokesman.

Last week, Mr Flowers admitted he had “sinned” during an interview broadcast by the BBC.

He said he had suffered some “hellish” months and had been abandoned by a number of friends, including some in the Church.

“You certainly find out who your friends are because a significant number of people in politics and in the Co-op and some in the church have been noticeable by their silence,” he said.

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