Carl Sargeant: 'Anger at how allegations were handled'

By Vaughan Roderick
BBC Welsh Affairs Editor

image captionCarl Sargeant had been a Welsh Government minister for eight years

The Senedd, in the wake of the death of former Welsh Government minister Carl Sargeant, is a place in shock.

I do not remember an atmosphere anything like this.

There is, among some senior Labour figures, a growing sense of concern and anger at the process where the government or the Labour Party appear not to have exercised their duty of care over Mr Sargeant after he faced accusations about his behaviour.

Carwyn Jones' future could be on the line here. This is a trauma that could become a political crisis unless he comes up with the answers that Labour AMs in particular want to hear.

On Monday of last week we understand that the First Minister Carwyn Jones received complaints of Carl Sargeant's dealings with a number of women.

The following Friday, when there was a reshuffle, Mr Sargeant was effectively sacked from his job as communities and children's secretary.

At the same time he was suspended from the Labour Party and suspended from the Labour group in the assembly, and an inquiry into his actions was launched.

People are being very careful not to jump the gun on this.

There are people who spoke to Mr Sargeant on Tuesday morning who were told that he still did not know what the allegations were.

This followed an interview that was broadcast with Mr Jones on Monday, where he seemed to strengthen the accusations against Mr Sargeant - accusations that Mr Sargeant was telling people he had no knowledge of.

That opens up a whole raft of questions around the process and around the first minister's judgement.

The AM for Alyn and Deeside was first elected in 2003 and after that he held a string of ministerial posts for Welsh Labour.

He was one of the assembly's characters. Generally he was someone who was liked across the chamber.

He was always regarded as being a close friend of the first minister, which perhaps makes the events of the past few days even more surprising.

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