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'You make me sick' - Flintshire Council Deputy Leader calls for First Minister's resignation

Deputy Leader of Flintshire Council Bernie Attridge has called for First Minister Carwyn Jones to resign following the death of his former minister Carl Sargeant.

His death came less than a week after he was sacked from Carwyn Jones' cabinet and it was revealed that complaints about his personal conduct would be investigated by Welsh Labour.

In a tweet Bernie Attridge said the First Minister should 'do the right thing and resign' and that the way he had treated Carl Sargeant made him 'sick'.

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Sargeant offered no support by Labour, says solicitor

Following the release of correspondence between Carl Sargent's solicitor and the Labour party, the solicitor's firm, Bowden Jones, has issued a statement. It says that requests for details of the complaints against Mr Sargeant were made to the First Minister of Wales, the General Secretary of the Labour Party in Wales and the Labour Party Head Office Disputes team but those requests were refused. The firm also states categorically that no support was offered to Carl Sargeant by the Labour party.

It has been suggested that support was offered to Mr Sargeant. It is not clear in what form this support was suggested to have been offered but that is not correct. No support was offered to Mr Sargeant other than that personally offered by close friends and family.

The family are currently dealing with the tragic loss of Carl and would not wish to be disturbed any further. They wanted simply to explain the position as they are aware of it so as to avoid further inevitable speculation as to the circumstances surrounding Carl’s tragic death.

The family hopes that moving forward that there will be a full investigation and scrutiny of the way that the relevant parties concerned dealt with the allegations, Mr Sargeant personally and the statements that have been made in the press and media.

Those that owed a clear duty of care to Carl and to his family will, no doubt in due course need to provide clarity on their respective positions in this tragedy.

– Statement by Bowden Jones Solicitors

Meanwhile there's been a fresh allegation from one of Carl Sargeant's close political friends about how the former minister was treated over several years.


Housing needs of ex-prisoners 'will continue to be met'

Despite the announcement that former prisoners will no longer receive priority housing, the Welsh Government has insisted other changes in the Housing Bill will help the most vulnerable former prisoners to find accommodation.

Several respondents expressed concerns about some aspects of the proposal, particularly the potential impact on the successful resettlement of vulnerable prisoners and the impact on reoffending. The broader provisions on homelessness will provide much-improved help for prisoners before release to find them suitable accommodation.

I would like to emphasise that the needs of vulnerable former prisoners will continue to be met through the legislation, within the context of a more proactive approach to prevention.

– Carl Sargeant AM, Housing Minister

Former prisoners 'will no longer have priority housing'

Former prisoners will no longer receive priority treatment when it comes to being housed by local councils under changes announced by the Welsh Government.

Following a consultation on the changes, Housing Minister Carl Sargeant says those leaving prison will be assessed using the same criteria as any other vulnerable person wanting to be considered homeless.

Currently local authorities are obliged to treat them as a higher priority.

The changes will form part of a major Housing Bill to be published next week.

I am mindful that the subject of former prisoners having priority need status for housing has long been a controversial one. The needs of former prisoners are recognised but the current arrangements are widely perceived as being unfair in that they are given priority over many other vulnerable people irrespective of their personal circumstances.

– Carl Sargeant AM, Housing Minister

Controversial fund closure late but welcome says Tory

The decision by the Welsh Government to take direct control of the controversial Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales has been welcomed by the Conservative AM who first raised the concerns. But Byron Davies says he wants to know why it's taken so long to reach such a decision.

I welcome the cancellation of activity by the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW) as currently constituted. For over a year, I have been voicing my concerns about why the taxpayer has lost millions of pounds in the mis-selling of pieces of land.

Openness and transparency are critical in rooting out wrongdoing from public life and delivering value for money for hard-pressed taxpayers.

Selling off large pieces of valuable land in private deals was never going to deliver value for money for the public purse and it is vital that this Labour Government learns the lessons.

Investigations are still on going, and I will be asking serious questions about why it has taken this long for this decision to be taken given how long serious concerns have been raised.

– Byron Davies AM, Shadow Transport minister

Welsh Govt closes under-investigation investment body

The Welsh Government is to close down an arms-length investment organisation in the light of Wales Audit Office investigations into the sale of land. Housing and Regeneration Minister Carl Sargeant told AMs that he will take direct control of the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales.

This action is intended to ensure that the resources currently tied up in the Fund should be made available for investment in communities around Wales as soon as reasonably possible.

– Carl Sargeant AM, Housing and regeneration minister

RIFW's activities had been suspended in 2012 when the investigations were launched by the WAO. The minister says he's taken his latest step because he's concerned that the suspension is stopping the flow of investment to communities.

These investigations are still continuing and in the circumstances I have concluded that I am not in a position to remove the moratorium on the activities of the Fund. I am conscious that the effect of that would, without further action, simply be to extend the uncertainty surrounding the Fund. I am also very concerned that unless I take further action resources which should be made available to invest in our communities will instead be lying unused in RIFW’s bank account.

Following consultation with the RIFW Board I have therefore concluded that we should draw the investment activities of the Fund as currently constituted to a close. This will ensure that the resources currently locked up in the Fund can instead be reallocated for other projects supporting jobs and growth across Wales. My Department will assume direct responsibility for overseeing the Fund through this process.

– Carl Sargeant AM, Housing and regeneration minister
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