Jones ‘ignored’ Labour harassment policy in sacking Sargeant

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Following the sacking and untimely death of former Welsh Cabinet member Carl Sargeant, Welsh First Minister and Labour leader Carwyn Jones is under increasing pressure to resign after his former ‘right-hand man’ accused him of presiding over a ‘toxic bullying culture’.

In Jones’ formal statement on the matter, he called Sargeant his friend and claimed to ‘welcome any scrutiny’ of his actions:

This appears at odds with a photo allegedly showing Jones’ ‘SpAd’ celebrating Carl Sargeant’s sacking on the evening after it happened:

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Mr Sargeant’s family have alleged that Carwyn Jones manipulated Labour’s rules in order to sideline Sargeant, who – according to senior Labour sources – was both popular and a political threat and rival to the First Minister. However, rather than than ‘manipulate’ them, it appears he ignored them.

The Labour Party publishes its rules on sexual harassment and how allegations must be handled. It dates to before Jones suspended and sacked Carl Sargeant.

The policy describes what constitutes sexual harassment and lays out a series of eleven steps designed to ensure due process is followed and that both ‘complainants’ and ‘respondents’ are treated properly. The first four of these steps are:

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But this is far from the process that Carwyn Jones appears to have followed. Mr Sargeant’s family say that up to his death three days after his sacking and suspension, he still did not know the details of the charges against him, so had not been asked to provide a written statement about them.

Sargeant was sacked on 3 November – before even step one had taken place, let alone step two: sending the statements to the appropriate NEC panel. Even an administrative suspension during an investigation is not supposed to begin until after steps 1-3 have been completed.

Yet Carwyn Jones had already sacked Carl Sargeant and Mr Sargeant had been suspended – allegedly after a discussion with a SpAd (special adviser) who was later alleged to be ‘celebrating’ his sacking.

All evidently without due process.

A senior Labour source confirmed that the policy had been in place since well before Sargeant’s sacking and expressed the opinion that the sequence of events in Carl Sargeant’s case would suggest that the policy had been ‘ignored’.

Carwyn Jones was contacted for comment but has not responded. Perhaps the SKWAWKBOX’s ‘scrutiny’ was not ‘welcome’.

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  1. I wonder if we will ever find out the details of what he was actually accused of?

    1. In answer to my own question it looks like the answer is NO. Welsh Labour have just announced that they’ve abandoned their ‘investigation’ into Carl. I guess we’ll never know the nature, seriousness or veracity of these allegations

  2. What you say is not quite right. The use of suspension is at the same time as referral to the NEC panel.
    However according to the guide to complainants it should be after the accused has submitted a response to the complaints. I have not checked this against any other party documents yet. Guidance to complainants is not necessarily a definitive description of the rules. My recollection as a manager was thatvguidance always allowed suspensions pending putting together the complainant and respondent submissions.

    1. Surely complainants have a right to anonymity, it’s not like accusation of other offences. That being so, to give the accused full details could probably have been problematic. Also, we have heard from a source in the Labour that Sargeant was given an understanding of why he was being suspended, but the family says otherwise, and I wonder if he would have fully spoken to his family about it.

      It’s horrific, I can’t believe that anyone in Labour would have thought Sargeant would take his own life, I feel so sorry for his grieving family. And at the same time Labour have to take complaints of sexual offences seriously.

      I think it’s best all round to wait for the outcome of the enquiry.

  3. I’m not taking sides but it’s clear that no-one knows exactly what happened in the meeting/s between Carl and Carwyn.
    It may well be that Carl didn’t want to acknowledge ot his family and friends what the allegations actually were.
    It may also be that Carwyn didn’t follow procedure.
    I think we’d all do well to wait for the results of a formal investigation before throwing unfounded accusations around.

  4. I can’t get over the crushing irony that one of his accusers is surnamed McCarthy! You really couldn’t make it up. The name-sake Senator’s ghost is certainly riding out all over at the moment…

  5. Oops! Sorry, I’m getting my witch-hunts mixed up. McCarthy accused Kelvin Hopkins, not Carl Sargeant…

  6. Whilst the use of the word “allegedly” is a cast iron get out of jail free card, the photograph of a blobbed out person with a red ring around his head sitting in a pub (and the only one of his group of four not laughing wildly) being categorised as someone celebrating someone’s sacking the day after it happened is surely pure speculation and firmly in tabloid territory.

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