Welsh First Minister to stand down amid bullying row

Welsh First Minister to stand down amid bullying row

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Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, has announced he is to stand down in the autumn.

The Bridgend AM made the announcement at the Welsh Labour Party conference in Llandudno which he said would be his last as leader.

The former barrister’s decision to stand down will end his nine-year reign as First Minister, succeeding Rhodri Morgan in December 2009.

The announcement comes after Mr Jones, 51, referred himself to an independent inquiry over allegations of bullying at a senior level of the Welsh government three years ago.

It followed the death of assembly member Carl Sargeant, who is believed to have taken his own life after being removed from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children while facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Assembly government minister Carl Sargeant has been suspended by Labour
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Carl Sargeant is believed to have taken his own life

Former minister Leighton Andrews has said that Mr Sargeant and others were the target of a “bullying culture practised by certain people within the Welsh Government”.

Mr Jones insisted that any issues brought to his attention were dealt with, but Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies suggested Mr Jones may have “misled assembly members” over his knowledge of bullying in the Welsh government.

Mr Jones told conference there had been “the darkest of times” in recent months, and thanked his children and wife Lisa, who he said had been seriously ill in the run-up to conference, for their support.

He said: “In any normal political career, you expect to be put through the ringer, and even have your integrity challenged.

“I don’t think anyone can know what these last few months have been like. No-one that is, apart from Lisa and the kids.

“They have carried me through the darkest of times. I have asked too much of them, and it is time for me to think about what’s fair for them.”

“I intend as I’ve always maintained – to be here to give every answer to every question. But I intend to stand down in the autumn, allowing for a new First Minister to take place by the end of this year.

“At that point it will make sense to have a fresh start. For my family, for my party and for my country.”



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