Carl Sargeant: First minister to explain handling of claims

The first minister outside his house on Thursday morning

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The first minister left his home on Thursday morning ahead of a meeting with Labour AMs

The first minister will meet Labour AMs to explain how he handled allegations of inappropriate behaviour against a minister who was later found dead.

Carl Sargeant, who had been suspended by Labour and sacked from Carwyn Jones’ cabinet, is believed to have taken his own life on Tuesday.

Mr Jones is due to make a statement following the meeting in Cardiff Bay.

The meeting follows criticism of the way Mr Sargeant was treated and his family’s calls for an inquiry.

Mr Sargeant was sacked from his job as communities secretary last Friday, after allegations of inappropriate behaviour were raised with Mr Jones’ office.

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Carl Sargeant has been sacked from the Welsh Government and suspended by the Labour party

The Alyn and Deeside AM had vowed to clear his name but said he did not know the details of the allegations.

He was found dead four days later.

A senior local government figure told BBC Wales there was a groundswell of opinion within Labour that Mr Sargeant had been badly let down by the party.

There was an expectation some action will be taken at the meeting, he said.

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

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First Minister Carwyn Jones will address Labour AMs on Thursday

Carwyn Jones will not have faced such a difficult meeting in his political career.

Like all of Carl Sargeant’s close friends and colleagues, he will be deeply saddened by events but he will have to convince the Labour AMs the sacking was carried out in as reasonable a manner as possible under the circumstances.

I am told some of the assembly members are prepared to give him a fair hearing but there is anger within the party, particularly within some figures in local government, about the way in which this was handled.

There is still plenty of emotion in Welsh Labour surrounding the death of Mr Sargeant.

I expect the meeting on Thursday to be no different.

Comments from former local government minister Leighton Andrews – and other Labour politicians both privately and publicly – have increased the pressure on Mr Jones, who has been first minister since 2009.

Mr Andrews said: “There has been deliberate personal undermining of Carl Sargeant from within the Welsh Labour government over several years.”

Jenny Rathbone, Labour AM for Cardiff Central, said she felt Mr Sargeant “wasn’t dealt with fairly”.

Mr Sargeant’s family have said the former minister was accused of “unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping”, which he denied, and letters sent between his solicitor and Labour show Mr Sargeant had pushed for more specific details on the claims.

His family said he was deprived of “natural justice” and have called for a full investigation of the way the allegations were dealt with.

In response, a Labour Party spokesman said: “Following allegations brought to the attention of Welsh Labour by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, an investigation was launched by the UK party.

“The Labour Party Governance and legal unit spoke with Carl Sargeant and, in line with agreed procedure, outlined the nature of the allegations that had been received and how the complaints process works.”

Carl Sargeant: First minister to explain handling of claims}

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