The first minister of #Wales, Carwyn Jones, may face an independent investigation over how he handled allegations of harassment made against the sacked minister Carl Sargeant, who was found dead this week.
There have been calls for Jones to resign over the issue but during an emotional press conference in Cardiff on Thursday he did not apologise and defended his actions, claiming everything had been done “by the book”. He said: “I had no alternative but to take the action that I did and I hope that people will understand that.”
Jones paid tribute to Sargeant, who was cabinet secretary for communities and children, and apparently took his own life on Tuesday amid allegations of harassment. Jones described the 49-year-old as a great minister and chief whip, and said he could not imagine what his wife, Bernie, and his family were going through.
He 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 … served his country with distinction. Carl was a true force of nature, he drove through more legislation than any other minister. Not just through force of argument but through sheer force of personality and persuasion.
“Wales has lost a person of great warmth, ability and charisma. These are the darkest days any of us can remember in this institution, but they are darkest of all for the family.”
Declining to answer questions, Jones said: “Everybody is grieving and it is not appropriate for me to get into precise detail. These are matters for the future. He said his team would cooperate with the inquest due to open next week.
“The family deserve to have their questions answered and if that isn’t possible through an inquest, then I will endeavour to make sure that happen through other means. There is a legal process to go through and I am obviously acting within that, but I welcome the scrutiny of my actions in the future and it is appropriate for that to be done independently.”
Ahead of the statement, Sargeant’s family expressed concern that Jones was meeting #Labour members of the assembly to discuss the matter before speaking to them or in public. He spoke to assembly members for an hour and a half before making his statement.