The Conservative Leader in the Welsh Assembly, Andrew R T Davies (AM for South Wales Central which includes Penarth) has today responded to yesterday’s announcement by First Minister Carwyn Jones that he will step-down in September.
Mr Davies – who has been Carwyn Jones’s arch-opponent since 2011 – says “Whilst we have spent many years on opposite sides of the political divide, you have to recognise Carwyn’s significant contribution to public life in Wales, and the huge achievement of serving his country at the highest level for so long.”
“Clearly taking on such responsibility has a big impact on family life and simple things like being able to spend time with your children as they’re growing up, and I fully understand his reasons.”
In a reference to the suicide last November of Welsh Labour Government minister Carl Sargeant just four days after being been sacked by Carwyn Jones, Mr Davies says “Recent events have cast a shadow over Welsh politics and the tragedy of losing a colleague and friend would undoubtedly have had a big impact on the First Minister – as it has everyone.”
“Over the years we’ve exchanged many metaphorical blows, and there will be plenty of time to debate and reflect on Carwyn’s legacy as First Minister. But for now, I simply wish him and his family all the best for what lies ahead.”
Meanwhile the real reasons for Carwyn Jones’s abrupt departure from the top job in Welsh politics may be becoming clearer.
Today Mr Neil Hudgell, solicitor for the family of the late Mr Carl Sargeant, has called for the immediate publication of a report by one of the three separate inquiries (including the inquest) that either have been completed, or are about to be carried out, into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal – and the death – of Mr Sargeant .
The Welsh Labour Government has refused to publish one report – into how information about Carwyn Jones’s reshuffle was leaked – but Mr Hudgell is demanding its publication, even if parts of it need to be redacted . He says “My understanding is that report is going to be highly critical, not only of the handling of the leaks but of the inquiry and how it is conducted.“
Yet to begin is a separate third inquiry being led by Paul Bowen QC . This is “To conduct an investigation into the First Minister’s actions and decisions in relation to Carl Sargeant’s departure from his post as Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children and thereafter.”
Mr Hudgell said today that Carwyn Jones’s decision to resign has not helped the Sargeant family at all.
He said that the Sargeant family “completely empathise with the human cost of being involved in high-profile office – and the fact that he [ i.e. Carwyn Jones] can go home to his family in the autumn, they are very pleased for the Jones family, but they will never get any closure until they get to the end of this journey with Paul Bowen and his investigation, and him being able to have access to all relevant material and all relevant witness, so they can finally understand the events that led up to the tragic loss of their father and husband.”
He called for the publication of a report into whether the sacking of Carl Sargeant was leaked – saying it could be redacted if needed.