Tributes are paid to Carl at Senedd

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

TRIBUTES have been paid to for­mer Welsh Labour min­is­ter Carl Sargeant as for­mal busi­ness re­sumed at the Welsh Assem­bly yes­ter­day.

Mr Sargeant, 49, was found dead at his home four days af­ter be­ing re­moved from his role as cab­i­net sec­re­tary for com­mu­ni­ties and chil­dren.

The fa­ther of two was sus­pended from the Labour Party over al­le­ga­tions of “un­wanted at­ten­tion, in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing or grop­ing”.

His fam­ily and friends at­tended the Senedd, where a minute’s si­lence was held in Mr Sargeant’s mem­ory and tributes were paid from across po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Mr Sargeant, who had served as chief whip, died on Tues­day, Novem­ber 7.

Pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer Elin Jones told the cham­ber: “His death has shaken us to our core and his ab­sence from our midst pains us to­day.”

First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones de­scribed how he first met Mr Sargeant in 2001 and had “never had a cross word” with him since.

“That was the man that we called Sarge,” he said.

“Well liked and com­mit­ted, jovial but de­ter­mined, firm but fun. He will be missed by his fam­ily, by those in this cham­ber and by the na­tion.”

An­drew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Con­ser­va­tives, said Mr Sargeant had gone from the fac­tory floor to push­ing through four pieces of leg­is­la­tion.

“He is one of the most gen­uine men I have had the priv­i­lege to meet,” Mr Davies told the cham­ber.

“Al­ways a smile on his face. Al­ways a kind word to say, al­ways a quip as well, as you walked down the cor­ri­dor.

“He has a legacy to be proud of and it has been a priv­i­lege and an hon­our to call Carl a fel­low Assem­bly Mem­ber.”

Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, de­scribed Mr Sargeant as “au­then­tic” and said he was “rooted” in his com­mu­nity.

The cham­ber heard Mr Sargeant, who was AM for Alyn and Dee­side, still lived on the coun­cil es­tate where he had been brought up.

“Carl Sargeant was a politi­cian who could never be ac­cused of be­ing out of touch,” Ms Wood said.

Neil Hamil­ton, leader of Ukip in Wales, paid trib­ute to Mr Sargeant as a “gen­tle gi­ant”.

“Although the full story is yet to be es­tab­lished, Carl didn’t de­serve to suf­fer as he did,” Mr Hamil­ton said.

“Carl’s fam­ily must feel as if they have been hit with an ex­press train.”

On Mon­day, a coroner said an in­quest into Mr Sargeant’s death would ex­am­ine how the Assem­bly acted in re­la­tion to his men­tal wel­fare be­fore his death.

The in­quest heard Mr Sargeant was found hanged in the util­ity room of his home by his wife Ber­nadette, who at­tempted to re­sus­ci­tate him.

Fam­ily mem­bers and paramedics also at­tempted to as­sist Mr Sargeant be­fore he was pro­nounced dead.

John Git­tins, se­nior coroner for North Wales (East and Cen­tral), opened and ad­journed an in­quest into Mr Sargeant’s death.

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