FCA's Martin Wheatley on Paul Flowers and Co-Op Bank

The head of the Financial Conduct Authority said a candidate with the experience of Rev Paul Flowers would not be approved as the chairman of a bank today.

Revelations about alleged drug use and claims about Mr Flowers's expenses have raised questions over why he was appointed to chair the Co-op Bank, despite having little experience in the industry.

Martin Wheatley, who was part of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and is now chief executive officer of the regulator that has replaced it, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told Andrew Neil: "Today it would be different".

He said that under the rules in force when Mr Flowers was appointed, the FSA was not required to "challenge" him because he was already on the bank's board.

Mr Wheatley defended the FSA's scrutiny of the Co-op's failed bid to buy 600 branches of Lloyds, saying the body "never got delivered a business plan that we were happy to approve".

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