The Conservative Assembly Member for Penarth – Andrew R T Davies (South Wales Central) has today paid tribute to the sacked former Welsh Labour minister Carl Sargeant who was found dead at his home in Deeside today.
Mr Davies said today of Mr Sargeant – who appears to have committed suicide – “Parliament has lost a stalwart, and many of us have lost a friend. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends, and our colleagues in the Welsh Labour Party.”
Mr Sargeant – who was until last week the Welsh Labour Government’s Minister for Children and Communities – was abruptly “removed ” from his cabinet post by First Minister Carwyn Jones – allegedly following a number of allegations made against Sargeant by women.
The nature of the allegations and the identity of the women who have made the complaints – some of which are said to date back several months or years – has yet to be made public
Carl Sargeant represented the constituency of Alyn and Deeside as a Labour AM and was married with two children.
Today the leader of the Labour Party – Jeremy Corbyn – described the development as “deeply shocking news”.
Only yesterday Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones had appeared in a tv interview to be justifying his decision to fire the Sargeant – even though an investigation into the allegations made against the ex-minister has not yet begun.
Carwyn Jones said yesterday that “I heard of the incidents. I asked my office to speak to the women involved. Ummmm …we heard from them what the nature of the incidents actually ….were . And as a result of that I thought there was no choice but for the matter to be investigated”. [ In fact on Friday Carwyn Jones had immediately “removed” Mr Sargeant from his cabinet position and Sargeant was also suspended from the Labour Party ]
Today, in a marked change of tone, Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones said the death of Carl Sargeant was what he described as “a great loss to our party and to the Senedd” [i.e. The Welsh Assembly].
The Welsh Assembly’s business for today has been cancelled as a mark of “respect” for the former minister . It is now unclear whether the formal investigation into as yet unspecified and unproven allegations made against Mr Sargeant will be carried out.
Before today’s developments, the investigation and the pre-emptive firing of Mr Sargeant was declared to been initiated to “avoid embarrassment” to the Labour Party.