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AM says Carl Sargeant told him of concerns over bullying “from an individual in the First Minister’s office”

Conservative AM Darren Millar has revealed he had a private conversation with Carl Sargeant about bullying in the Welsh Government back in 2014.

Mr Millar told the Senedd yesterday, the late Alyn and Deeside AM told him “he was unhappy, because there was bullying going on within the Welsh Government which was coming from an individual in the First Minister’s office.”

The late Mr Sargeant also told the Clwyd West AM that bullying “was taking a toll on him personally along with others.”

“I will not be naming the individual who Carl identified to me today, but I wish to make it absolutely clear, at this point, that at no time did Carl in his discussions with me ever accuse the First Minister himself of bullying. I offered to help, although I felt powerless to do so. Carl responded by thanking me and said that he would think about my offer and come back to me.” Said Mr Millar.

Two weeks later, on 22 October 2014, Mr Millar said Carl Sargeant approached him in the Members’ tea room with a handwritten note containing draft questions for him to consider tabling to the First Minister.

Mr Millar said Mr Sargeant “explained that he hoped that the tabling of the questions would be sufficient to prompt internal Welsh Government action by the First Minister to address the bullying problem.”

“I chose to redraft the questions slightly and I shared these privately with Carl. He was happy with the re-drafts but he asked me not to table the questions immediately. Instead, he requested that I hold off until he spoke to me again about the matter.” said Mr Millar.

During the first week of November 2014, The Alyn and Deeside AM asked Mr Millar to table the questions as a complaint been made to the First Minister about the conduct of a special adviser.

“I subsequently tabled the questions on 4 November 2014, and the answers that were provided by the First Minister are now a matter of public record.”

“Once I had received the written answers I passed them on to Carl before they were published on the Assembly website. He was surprised and disappointed by the First Minister’s answers and resigned himself to the situation continuing.” Said Mr Millar.

Mr Millar said: “Others were also made aware by Carl Sargeant himself that he had asked me to table the questions and of the circumstances surrounding them.

Out of respect to Carl’s family, I did not wish to make this statement prior to laying Carl to rest or without their knowledge. I can confirm that they are aware that I’m making this statement today and a copy has been shared with them in advance.”

“I would like to thank the Presiding Officer for allowing me to make this short personal statement today. In it I’ve simply stated the facts to you as my fellow Assembly Members, facts, which my conscience compelled me to share with you and to put on the public record, and want this personal statement to be considered as evidence by James Hamilton to assist him with his inquiry. I will not be discussing this matter further outside of that inquiry and nor will I be speaking to the press.” Mr Millar concluded.

Deputy Leader of Flintshire Council Bernie Attridge later tweeted:

Three separate inquiries

Labour dropped the investigation into allegations made about Carl Sargeant last week, Labour general secretary Iain McNicol said it was “no longer possible to take forward any investigation under our procedures”.

As well as being sacked from his role in the cabinet, Mr Sargeant was also suspended from the Labour Party due to the unspecified allegations made against him.

No written statements against the Alyn and Deeside AM had been passed to the Labour Party at the time of his death.

Three separate inquiries will look into the circumstances around Mr Sargeant’s tragic death on November 7.

An inquiry was launched earlier this week into whether there had been a leak about the impending sacking of Mr Sargeant from the cabinet prior to Carwyn Jones’ cabinet reshuffle.

An independent inquiry led by a senior QC will look to establish whether the first minister followed the correct procedures in the sacking of Mr Sargeant, and the Coroner’s inquest into his death which was opened and adjourned on November 13.

(This article first appeared on Deeside.com)

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