… After ‘shocking’ sex claims by multiple women
A top British Labour politician has committed suicide days after he was sacked by the Welsh government and suspended by his party over ‘shocking’ claims of sexual misconduct made by three women.
Former minister Carl Sargeant, 48, was found dead at home in Connah’s Quay, North Wales, at 11.30 am yesterday and police said they are not treating it as suspicious. His wife Bernie, 48, and children Jack, 23, and Lucy, 25, said they are “devastated beyond words” because the family have lost “the glue that bound us together.”
Mr Sargeant was sacked by Carwyn Jones on Friday after three women contacted the First Minister’s office and made allegations of sexual misconduct.The father-of-two was in New York with his wife of 25 years when it emerged and he had pledged ‘to clear my name’ in a statement four days before his death.
Labour has not detailed the allegations but the under fire politician had himself described them as ‘shocking and distressing’. Police and paramedics were called to his North Wales former council house this morning and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was removed by private ambulance this afternoon.
North Wales Police said its officers were investigating Mr Sargeant’s death but said it was not suspicious. Superintendent Mark Pierce of North Wales Police said: “At approximately 11.30am today 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.”
His death represents a dark turn for the harassment scandal that had rocked British politics and has led to calls for anonymity to those accused of sexual allegations or sex crimes. Eight Tory MPs and three Labour MPs have been embroiled in allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Theresa May brought party leaders together for a meeting last night in a bid to bolster protection for politicians’ staff.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his death was “terrible and deeply shocking news”, adding: “All allegations (of sexual misconduct) must be examined but there also has to be great care for everybody involved in these accusations’.
Labour sources have said that hours before his death he had told friends he was still unaware what the claims were because party officials refused to tell him. Mr Sargeant had not been arrested, MailOnline reported.
Mr Sargeant was a “much loved husband, father and friend”, a statement released by his family said after his death was announced this afternoon. “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,” it said.
“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.”
Mr Sargeant was on holiday with his wife Bernie in New York last week when the allegations broke about his conduct towards women, it emerged today. Father-of-two Mr Sargeant returned from his family United States break to be called into the office of the Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones, who sacked him.
On Friday Mr Sargeant insisted he had resigned after being told that ‘shocking and distressing’ allegations had been made against him. But Labour party sources insisted he was fired. Welsh Labour leader Mr Jones said at the time he had to remove him from his cabinet post after learning of ‘certain incidents’ involving several women.
Carl Sargeant had risen to the top tier of Welsh politics before allegations about his personal conduct led to him being sacked just days before he was found dead. A former process worker at a North Wales chemical plant, Mr Sargeant, 49, was elected to Cardiff Bay in 2003 as Labour AM for the Alyn and Deeside seat.
Until his removal as cabinet secretary for communities and children, he had served in a series of ministerial roles in the Welsh government. In 2007 he was appointed chief whip of the Labour group before becoming minister for local government.
Roles as minister for housing and regeneration and minister for natural resources followed before being named cabinet secretary for communities and children in May 2016.
In his last tweet on Friday, Mr Sargeant said: ‘I met with the First Minister today and he informed me allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me.
‘The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me. I have written to the General Secretary of Welsh Labour requesting an urgent independent investigation into these allegations in order to allow me to clear my name.
‘Given the nature of the allegations, I agreed with the First Minister that it was right that I stand aside from cabinet. ‘I look forward to returning to Government once my name has been cleared. I won’t be commenting further at this stage.’