Former First Minister “unlawfully interfered” in Sargeant affair QC inquiry

(Title Image: Senedd.TV)

The High Court has ruled that former First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM (Lab, Bridgend), unlawfully interfered in the QC-led inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Carl Sargeant prior to and immediately following his death in November 2017.

The QC-led inquiry, chaired by Paul Bowen QC, has been suspended since a number of legal challenges were tabled by the Sargeant family into the inquiry’s ground rules – which were laid down by Carwyn Jones.

Judges ruled it was “unfair” for the former First Minister to say in public that the inquiry would be independent whilst dictating the terms on which the inquiry would be held behind the scenes.

They also deemed it unlawful for the most senior civil servant in Wales – the Permanent Secretary, Shan Morgan – to “have her hands tied” by the First Minister.

A review of the inquiry’s ground rules can now proceed, while Carwyn Jones recently won a right to challenge whether additional evidence from Labour councillors Bernie Attridge and Aaron Shotton should be heard at the (presently adjourned) coroner’s inquest.

AMs from all parties repeated demands for a report into leaks around the time of Carl Sargeant’s dismissal to be published.