First Minister “vetoed” Sargeant inquiry terms to protect complainant’s confidentiality

(Title Image: Channel 4 News)

The First Minister confirmed in a statement to AMs that he vetoed parts of the QC-led inquiry operational protocol in order to protect the anonymity of the woman who accused Carl Sargeant of personal misconduct prior to the ill-fated reshuffle in November 2017.

The protocol is currently being challenged by the Sargeant family at the High Court and the statement suggests hearing might not start until March or April 2019 – long after Carwyn Jones stands down as First Minister.

The First Minister said the “majority” of the protocol – originally drafted by the appointed investigator, Paul Bowen QC – remained unchanged.

He added, “Mr Bowen QC has announced that, subject to the outcome of the judicial review process, he intends to hold evidence sessions in March or April next year. I have indicated throughout that I will make myself available to give evidence at any time, and this will of course continue after my tenure as First Minister comes to an end.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Paul Davies AM (Con, Preseli Pembs.) said, “I find it absolutely astonishing that the First Minister has had anything to do with determining the rules for the inquiry into his own actions….I think the handling of this whole situation has been disgraceful, and can only imagine the anguish the Sargeant family must be going through.”