Steve Jones – former Special Adviser to First Minister Carwyn Jones has revealed what really goes on on the “Fifth Floor” of the Welsh Assembly building

A highly experienced former special adviser to Welsh Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones has revealed the “toxic” culture of bullying and “mind-games” which is apparently endemic in the Welsh Labour Government.

The revelations come from Mr Steve Jones, who was special adviser to Carwyn Jones until 2014 and who has been talking in detail to Martin Shipton at MediaWales about the atmosphere  at the heart of Labour’s chaotic Welsh Government.

A picture emerges of a hapless and inadequate First Minister who is in thrall to the battalion of Labour Party political aides, and who is said to be “unwilling or unable” to deal with the endemic “bullying culture” which prevails in his own private office.

The Labour-dominated Welsh Assembly may look – from a distance – like a children’s playground or a warped bus shelter,  but inside, the atmosphere is said to be “pure poison”.

Mr Steve Jones, says  the atmosphere is what he describes as  “pure poison” – in which Welsh Government ministers are “persistently undermined by senior advisers playing power games”.

[PDN Note: As previously reported, children’s minister Carl Sargeant was last week  driven to commit suicide just 4 days after being sacked by Carwyn Jones. Mr Sargeant died without ever being given the details of the possibly false or exaggerated  allegations being made against him. It’s been revealed today that he had hanged himself] 

Exposed: The Welsh Labour Government First Minister Carwyn Jones is now under pressure to resign

The Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly now say evidence is emerging that, in peremptorily sacking Mr Sargeant, First Minister Carwyn Jones has broken the Ministerial Code which requires that ministers of the Crown who face such allegations to should remain in office until those allegations are either proved or dismissed .

Mr Sargeant’s family solicitor said last week that his client had only been told that the “allegations” against his client were what was described as “unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping” – but no specifics had been given .

Carl Sargeant in one of his last appearances at the Welsh Assembly

The alleged “complaints” against Mr Sargeant were said to have been made by 3 women – apparently acting in concert –  but none of those complaints had been deemed serious enough to be referred to the police. As Mr Sargeant is now dead, the Labour Party has said it cannot proceed with its investigation.

The inquest into Mr Sargeant’s death was officially opened today. The coroner John Gittins said it was  “an apparent act of self harm” and that he would carefully examine “the steps taken by the Assembly to have regard to Mr Sargeant’s mental welfare prior to his death”.

In a weekend interview Vaughan Gething Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth pointedly refused to answer questions about bullying in the First Minister’s private office

Over the weekend Labour AMs evaded questions about the alleged bullying culture in the First Minister’s office.

In a Radio Wales interview Vaughan Gething –  the Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth pointedly refused to answer any questions on the issue of the propriety or otherwise of  the First Minister’s actions.

He  only volunteered  more generalised,  opaque and vague answers to questions about the  Carl Sargeant tragedy and the calls for an inquiry  – and he persisted in resorting to the need for what he called a “line of communication with the family” [i.e. Carl Sargeant’s family] . One analyst said this appeared to be a completely bogus line of argument – and seemed to be being deployed to deflect questions about the key issue – the conduct of public affairs in the Welsh Labour Government.

Gething also skirted questions about whether Carwyn Jones should resign by saying No one’s asked me anything about Carwyn’s future. I’m certainly not getting into any speculation. I don’t think that  [i.e. resignation] is going to happen. I don’t think there’s any real chance of it happening at all” .

An independent inquiry – to be headed by a QC – is now to investigate how the beleaguered First Minister, Carwyn Jones, dealt with the Carl Sargeant case, but as yet it has not been decided when this will begin, or who will chair it  – and it may be delayed until after the inquest is completed.

Carwyn Jones’s former media adviser Mr Steve Jones meanwhile has described the First Minister’s office as a “toxic environment” in which the prevailing atmosphere was one of ” fear and loathing”. 

Former Welsh Labour Government minister Leighton Andrews supports the comments of Mr Steve Jones

Mr Steve Jones’s searing revelations about the bullying culture in Carwyn Jones’s office are supported by blog comments made by the former Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews who referred to “minor bullying, mind games, power games, favouritism, inconsistency of treatment to different ministers and deliberate personal undermining”.

Mr Andrews said that 4 ministers confronted Carwyn Jones about the bullying issue – but the First Minister had done nothing about it .

Media Wales quotes a spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives as saying  “This incredibly brave and detailed account put forward by Carwyn Jones’ s former Special Adviser raises yet more questions for the First Minister and the culture he has willingly overseen whilst in government. Taken in association with the accusations put forward by Leighton Andrews – a former Welsh Government Cabinet Minister – there is a substantial body of evidence building which suggests Carwyn Jones has broken the Ministerial Code.”


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  1. Frank Evans says:

    Of course Vaughan Gething’s will not say a word he hoping for his turn on the greasy pole after Carwyn Jones has slipped off.
    Funny how silent some Labour twitter accounts are on this issue!

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Does not Damian Green come from “Everard Street”!!! in Barry how ironic should that be correct.?
      Assembly Members and MPs and MSPs need to sign up to a new Regulator on the lines of Gas Water Ofcom etc.
      How about GovsOrganmart Wales any problems or transgressions compulsory organ donation on the spot .
      The offending Member to place organs in a carrier bag after paying the 5p charge of course.

  2. Chris David says:

    Time for major change! Surely even the most blinked and chipped must see this now. We are advised part of this political chicanery was about ousting Sergeant, whom was seen as a leadership contender to one C Jones! A very sad tale that promises to open a big can of worms, from which even the stranglers of Wales – Labour may find it hard to hide the tin opener.

  3. andrewsketty says:

    There is one hell of a lot that I can say on this subject with direct experience of workplace bullying at a leading charity here in Wales but it’s ALL on my blog if people want to read it. What I will say though is 11 months ago I took the matter to Vaughan Gething as it was a clear public interest matter and also a reputational risk to the Welsh Government given the amount of funding they give them – including for work which is counter workplace bullying! There will be more on this tomorrow!

  4. David Moorcraft says:

    I know several thoughtful people who think the whole WAG is an expensive junket and waste of money. I wouldn’t mind having our own Welsh Government – if they were any good ! For example, our Hospital record, compared to England’s , Mr Gethin ?

  5. The Tax payer says:

    It’s a complete joke. It’s a bit like Penarth town council with no respect from most people but costs a lot more to run. Big boys and girls playing with other peoples hard erened cash 👍

  6. Peter Church says:

    Oh Dear, what a sorry sorry mess the WAG are in, no wonder Vaughan doesn’t want to comment.
    If we didn’t have the Labour one party state attitude they all might be a little more conciliatory.
    may I ask the WAG to concentrate of Roads, Hospitals and Education all of which are also in a sorry mess in Wales.

    • snoggerdog says:

      and pavements,most pavements in the north ward if they were down barry island you would have to pay to go on them! & put some tarmac down on the end of the dardanelles BEFORE someone has a bad accident.

  7. Chris David says:

    Indeed- and the usual sycophantic red flag wavers here are very….very quiet. Long may reality reign.

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