Welsh communities secretary quits over allegations about ‘personal conduct’

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Wales’s cabinet secretary for communities and children has stepped down amid allegations about his “personal conduct”.

Carl Sargeant, the assembly member for Alyn and Deeside, said in a statement that he had met the first minister, Carwyn Jones, on Friday and been told that allegations had been made against him.

He said he had not been given details of the allegations, but that he had agreed to leave his post while an investigation was conducted. “I look forward to returning to government once my name has been cleared,” Sargeant added.

The news came as Jones began a reshuffle of his cabinet team, which it is thought will give some recently elected AMs a chance to serve on the frontbench.

A Welsh Labour spokesperson confirmed that Sargeant had been suspended from party membership – and therefore the Labour whip in the Welsh assembly – “while an investigation into allegations received takes place”.

In a statement released on Friday, Sargeant said: “I met with the first minister today and he informed me allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me. The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me.

“I have written to the general secretary of Welsh Labour requesting an urgent independent investigation into these allegations in order to allow me to clear my name.”

“Given the nature of the allegations, I agreed with the first minister that it was right that I stand aside from cabinet today. I look forward to returning to government once my name has been cleared. I won’t be commenting further at this stage.”

Sargeant was first elected to the Welsh assembly in 2003. In December 2009 he was made minister for social justice and local government in Jones’s first cabinet. He became cabinet secretary for communities and children in May last year.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd November 2017 15.25 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010