George Osborne orders inquiry into Co-op’s appointment of Flowers



Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne is expected to order an inquiry into how Paul Flowers was appointed chairman of the Co-operative Bank, despite admitting that he was under qualified.

The expected inquiry comes after comments by David Cameron, who said during prime minister’s questions that there were “a lot of questions to be answered” over Flowers’ appointment.

This follows on from Flowers’ admissions that he bought Class A drugs just days after being grilled by MPs over the near-collapse of the Co-op. Shortly after, he was suspended from both the Labour party and the Methodist church, where he practices as a minister in Bradford.

The exact details which the inquiry will probe are likely to be announced in the coming days, but Cameron said the MPs charged with the task must “get to the bottom of what went wrong”.

“The chancellor will be discussing with the regulators what is the appropriate form of inquiry to get to the bottom of what went wrong here, but there are clearly a lot of questions that have to be answered”, Cameron said.

“Why was Rev Flowers judged suitable to be chairman of a bank? Why weren’t alarm bells rung earlier, particularly by those who knew? And I think it will be important in the coming days that if anyone does have information they stand up and provide it to the authorities”.

The announcement by the prime minister follows on from comments made by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, who described the system by which banking executives are appointed as a “complete disaster”.

On Tuesday, Len Wardle announced his immediate resignation from his post as chairman of the Co-operative Group amid the scandal.

Further reading:

Co-operative Group chairman Len Wardle resigns amid drug scandal

MP calls for overhaul of banking executive appointment system

Former Co-op Bank chairman apologises after drugs scandal

Politicians gave ‘winks and nods’ to Co-op Bank to expand


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