A JUDGE has issued an arrest warrant for former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers after he failed to attend court.

Flowers, 73, who was a Labour councillor for the Great Horton ward of Bradford, was due to enter a plea at Manchester Crown Court today to a charge that he committed a £68,000 fraud by abusing his position.

Prosecutor Brian Treadwell said the solicitor previously instructed by Flowers had now lost contact with him.

Judge Timothy Smith said: "I issue a bench warrant not backed for bail in light of his non-appearance and being no contact with his solicitor."

Last month, Flowers made his first court appearance at Manchester Magistrates' Court after two earlier hearings were aborted when his lawyers said he had recently suffered a stroke and could not attend.

On the last occasion, the defendant walked slowly into the dock with the aid of a wheeled Zimmer frame.

Flowers, a former Methodist minister, Labour councillor in both Bradford and Rochdale and chairman of Co-op Bank between 2010 and 2013, did not indicate a plea.

He was told the case could not be dealt with at a magistrates' court and was granted unconditional bail until Wednesday’s hearing.