Sacked Labour minister Carl Sargeant found dead

An ex-Welsh Labour minister who faced a party investigation into allegations about his personal conduct has taken his own life, BBC Wales understands.

Carl Sargeant, 49, lost his ministerial job as cabinet secretary for communities and children last Friday.

He was suspended from Labour after the first minister learned of a number of alleged incidents involving women.

A family statement said they were “devastated beyond words” at the loss of “the glue that bound us together”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the death was “deeply shocking news”. Mr Sargeant, who was married and had two children, was sacked from his Welsh Government job last Friday after allegations about his behaviour were passed to First Minister Carwyn Jones’s office.

Mr Jones had said on Monday that he had heard of a number of alleged incidents with women, and felt he had no choice but to refer the matter to the party.

Mr Sargeant had vowed to clear his name.

The Welsh Assembly’s business for Tuesday has been cancelled as a mark of respect following his death.

Paying tribute, Mr Jones said: “Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death.

“He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and as a local assembly member.

“He will be a great loss both to our party and to the Senedd.”Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news, adding: “My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Tributes were paid across the assembly on Tuesday.

“It is desperately sad and we are all numb,” saidLee Waters, Mr Sargeant’s Labour colleague for the Llanelli constituency.

Elin Jones, assembly presiding officer, said Mr Sargeant “served the people of Alyn and Deeside with pride and determination” and that he had made an “enormous contribution to the development of this democratic institution”.

“On behalf of all the members and those who work at the National Assembly for Wales, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues,” she added. Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Our Parliament has lost a stalwart and many of us have lost a friend.”

Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said: “Carl Sargeant made a significant contribution to Welsh politics, both as an assembly member and a government minister.”

He has been described as a “gentle giant” who would be “missed across the party divide” by UKIP leader Neil Hamilton.

North Wales Police Supt Mark Pierce said police were called at about 11:30 GMT on Tuesday to a report that a man’s body had been found at an address in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire.

“The man has been formally identified as local AM Carl Sargeant. His next of kin have been informed and police are supporting the family,” he said.

“North Wales Police are not treating his death as suspicious and the matter has been referred to HM Coroner.”

Source: BBC