FLINTSHIRE: Shock has engulfed Welsh politics after a Labour AM and former Assembly minister was found dead just days after he was sacked from the cabinet.
Last week Carl Sargeant was sacked as the Welsh Government’s communities and children secretary and suspended from the Labour Party after it emerged allegations had been made about his conduct with women.
And this morning the AM was found dead at his home in Flintshire.
The 49-year-old, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2003 and served in a number of cabinet roles from 2007, was married and had two children.
In a statement Mr Sargeant’s family called him “a much loved husband, father and friend”.
“He was the glue that bound us together,” they said.
“He was the heart of our family. We loved him so very much.
“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.”
In a statement issued this afternoon Superintendent Mark Pierce of North Wales Police said officers were called to a house in Connah’s Quay at 11.30am yesterday to reports of a body being found.
He said the death was not being treated as suspicious and the matter had been referred to the coroner.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led tributes, saying on Twitter: “I’m deeply shocked to hear of the terrible news about Carl Sargeant. My thoughts and profound sympathy are with his family and friends.”
And first minister Carwyn Jones, who sacked Mr Sargeant last week, described him as “a friend as well as a colleague”.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death,” he said. “He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and as a local Assembly Member.
“He will be a great loss both to our party and to the Senedd. My heartfelt sympathies are with his family at this difficult time.”
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies called his death “unspeakably sad news” and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood said he “made a significant contribution to Welsh politics”.
Meanwhile leader of Newport City Council and the Welsh Local Government Association Cllr Debbie Wilcox said she was “deeply shocked” by the news, calling it “an awful tragedy”.
And, writing on Twitter, Gwent police and crime commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “Terrible news about the death of Carl Sargeant. Been my friend for many years. My thoughts and deepest sympathy are with his family.”
Although Mr Sargeant, who worked in the chemical manufacturing industry before entering politics, had initially announced he had “stepped aside” from the cabinet last week, it later emerged Carwyn Jones had sacked him.
An inquest will be held at a date to be confirmed.