‘FAIR HEAR­ING’ CALL FOR FIRST MIN­IS­TER

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - AMY COLES Re­porter amy.coles01@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

DE­MANDS for Car­wyn Jones to quit fol­low­ing Carl Sargeant’s death are “pre­ma­ture”, ac­cord­ing to Plaid leader Leanne Wood.

The Rhondda AM said the First Min­is­ter de­serves a “fair hear­ing” and called for those seek­ing to use the sit­u­a­tion for “po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal” to “back off”.

For­mer Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary Mr Sargeant was found dead on Tues­day af­ter be­ing in­ves­ti­gated over claims of “touch­ing or grop­ing”.

The Alyn and Dee­side AM, 49, is un­der­stood to have taken his own life just four days af­ter he was re­moved from his Cab­i­net post.

Yes­ter­day Ms Wood told ITV she wanted to see “jus­tice on all sides” but main­tained it was too soon to call for the First Min­is­ter’s res­ig­na­tion.

She said: “I think those calls are some­what pre­ma­ture.

“There are ques­tions to be an­swered and he de­serves to be given a fair hear­ing in an­swer­ing those.

“But what I would say is there are some peo­ple who have sought to gain po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal out of these events and to those peo­ple I say back off – now is not the time.”

On Fri­day it was con­firmed an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry will be led by a se­nior QC into the First Min­is­ter’s ac­tions and de­ci­sions be­fore Carl Sargeant’s death.

Ms Wood said it had been a “dif­fi­cult week” but wel­comed an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry to help an­swer the ques­tions sur­round­ing Mr Sargeant’s death fol­low­ing his sus­pen­sion from the Labour Party.

She said: “I wel­come the fact there is go­ing to be an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry now, not least be­cause there are many ques­tions thrown up by this and the fam­ily in par­tic­u­lar, but also col­leagues and close friends of Carl Sargeant will want an­swers as well.”

She also said it was im­por­tant com­plainants were not for­got­ten in the process.

She added: “I think it’s im­por­tant as well that we don’t for­get the com- plainants at the be­gin­ning of all this.

“It’s vi­tally im­por­tant that peo­ple are able and feel em­pow­ered to be able to come for­ward and re­port cases of ha­rass­ment.”

Mr Sargeant’s fam­ily have crit­i­cised the First Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to ap­point a Welsh Gov­ern­ment’s Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary to find a se­nior QC to head the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

His fam­ily want the in­quiry es­tab­lished by a civil ser­vant from out­side Wales.

Carl Sargeant

First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood

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