‘FAIR HEARING’ CALL FOR FIRST MINISTER
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.
First Minister Carwyn Jones
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood