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Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Family devasted as sacked Welsh government minister dies days after being removed

Written by David Hughes

Former Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant has died just days after being sacked from his role and suspended from the Labour Party over allegations about his personal conduct.

A family statement said his relatives were "devastated beyond words" at the loss of "the glue that bound us together".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the death was "terrible and deeply shocking news".

Mr Sargeant, who is understood to have taken his own life, was a "much loved husband, father and friend", a statement released by the family said.

The statement said: "Carl was a much loved husband, father and friend. He wasn't simply a part of our family. He was the glue that bound us together. He was the heart of our family. We loved him so very much.

"He was the most kind and caring husband, father, son and friend.

"We are devastated beyond words, and we know our grief will be shared by all those who knew and loved him.

"We are in shock and grief. We ask that our privacy is respected at this time."

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: "We are investigating an incident at an address in Connah's Quay.

"There are no further details available at present. We will provide an update in due course."

Mr Corbyn said: "This is terrible and deeply shocking news.

"My thoughts and profound sympathy are with Carl's family, friends and colleagues."

Alyn and Deeside AM Mr Sargeant was suspended from party membership and "removed" from his cabinet role in Cardiff Bay on November 3.

He said he was told about the existence of the allegations against him by First Minister Carwyn Jones but had not been given details about the claims.

Mr Sargeant described the allegations about his personal conduct "shocking and distressing" and he had hoped for an urgent investigation to give him the chance to clear his name.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said: "I campaigned with Carl for many years.

"He was a powerful voice for working people and Wales.

"He put community at the heart of his politics and was respected by his constituents for it.

"My love and prayers are with Carl's family today.

"This is a tragedy beyond words."

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.

"My heartfelt sympathies are with his family at this difficult time."

On Monday, Mr Jones said he was forced to take action after becoming aware of "certain incidents" with women allegedly involving Mr Sargeant.

He told ITV News: "My office spoke to the women involved, as a result of those discussions I felt there was no choice other than to refer the matter to my own party for further investigation."

The Assembly's presiding officer Elin Jones said the rest of the day's business in Cardiff Bay had been cancelled.

She said: "I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Carl Sargeant AM. He served the people of Alyn and Deeside with pride and determination and he made an enormous contribution to the development of this democratic institution.

"As a mark of respect to Carl, there will be no Assembly business today. We will all want to gather our thoughts before paying proper tribute to him over the coming days.

"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."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "I am shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the death of Carl Sargeant.

"My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues."

In statement, Superintendent Mark Pierce of North Wales Police said: "At approximately 11.30am today, Tuesday November 7, North Wales Police were called to a report that the body of a man had been found at an address in Connah's Quay.

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

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

"The family request that their privacy is respected at this sad time."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Benjamin Wright / PA Wire.