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UK News

Saying I'm addiction-free would be a 'lie', admits disgraced former minister

Paul Flowers, who was also forced to stand down as chairman of the Co-operative Bank, was ordered to pay £525 in costs and a fine after admitting possession of cocaine, crystal meth and ketamine in May 2014.

Speaking on Radio 4's Sunday Programme after he last week lost the title of 'reverend' and the right to lead services, he said the death of his mother had been the driving force behind his drug use.

He said: "I'm not going to tell you a lie that it's behind me totally, because it isn't, but I believe it's now largely behind me, but we still struggle with addiction of different sorts."

Mr Flowers said his suspension from the Methodist Church in 2013 and departure from the Co-operative Bank - which was partly fueled by claims of inappropriate expenses payments - had made his faith stronger.

While accepting the Methodist Church's penality against him for "seriously impairing the mission, witness or integrity of the Church", he criticised it's handling of the incident as not "helpful".

Referring to claims he had used male escorts, Mr Flowers said being the head of an organisation is "sometimes lonely and very often in need of intimacy".

He added: "I don't apologise for being in that position."

"I think that the church generally - and the Methodist church is part of that - is lagging behind on issues affecting LGBT people such as myself."

"In my experience of the last week or so when a press release was issued without my knowledge by the church authorities...(it) was not exactly helpful in relation to the way the church should go about things."

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