First Minister not resigning over Sargeant allegations

9 November 2017, 18:25

Carl Sargeant & Carwyn Jones

The First Minister has said he had "no alternative" over allegations against AM Carl Sargeant, who was found dead on Tuesday.

Carwyn Jones has faced calls to quit after Mr Sargeant's family claimed he had been denied "natural justice", because he was unaware of the details of allegations against him.

The sacked minister is understood to have taken his own life at his home in Connah's Quay.

The First Minister was emotional as he spoke about Carl's death for the first time, saying: "these are the darkest days any of us can remember".

"I quite properly did all that I could to make sure that everything was being done by the book.

"I had no alternative but to take the action that I did and I hope that people will understand that."

Mr Sargeant, 49, was facing allegations of "unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping" and was sacked from his ministerial role and suspended by the Labour Party.

The Alyn and Deeside AM's family said Mr Sargeant's distress at being unable to defend himself properly meant he was not afforded "common courtesy, decency or natural justice".

A friend of Mr Sargeant said on Wednesday Mr Jones' treatment of him had been "unforgivable" and he should "do the right thing and resign".

But Mr Jones resisted the calls, saying: "There is a legal process to go through and I am obviously acting within that.

"I welcome any scrutiny of my actions in the future and it is appropriate for that to be done independently."

After a meeting of Welsh Labour AMs, Mr Jones said the mood was one of "great hurt, anger and bewilderment".

He said Wales had lost a person of "great warmth, ability and charisma".

Mr Jones said: "Carl was my friend. In all the years that I knew him I never had a cross word with him.

"For 14 years we worked together.

"He was a great chief whip and a minister who served his country with distinction."