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Calls for Jones to quit are 'premature' says Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood says First Minister Carwyn Jones should be given a chance to answer questions. Credit: ITV News

The Plaid Cymru leader says anyone trying to 'gain political capital' in the wake of Carl Sargeant's death should 'back off.'

Leanne Wood has told ITV News that she welcomes the announcement of an independent inquiry into the handling of allegations against the former Communities Secretary as a means of getting answers for his family.

But she said that there needs to be 'justice on all sides' including for those making the original allegations of improper behaviour.

She said the First Minister has difficult questions to answer but that it's too soon to demand his resignation.

Carwyn Jones has agreed to an independent inquiry into his handling of the situation and has asked the Welsh Government's top civil servant, the Permanent Secretary, to begin the process of finding a senior QC to lead the investigation.

However Carl Sargeant's family have expressed concern at the involvement of the Permanent Secretaryand have called for assurances any inquiry would be entirely independent of the Welsh Government.

I understand that they would find it more acceptable if a senior UK civil servant were brought in from Whitehall.

So far there are or will be three inquiries into matters connected to Carl Sargeant's death.

There'll be the QC-led independent inquiry into the handling of the allegations made against Carl Sargeant and subsequent decisions by the First Minister and others.

A Coroner's Inquest into the death itself begins on Monday.

And of course there is the Labour party investigation into the allegations made against Carl Sargeant in the first place. It's not clear what will now happen to that inquiry.

Leanne Wood says she's pleased that steps that are being taken to get answers.

Meanwhile the Welsh Conservatives are calling for an investigation into claims about bullying and intimidation in the Welsh Government in the past.

The party's leader Andrew RT Davies has written to the Permanent Secretary asking for an independent inquiry into those claims.

And the Clwyd West AM, Darren Millar, has told the Western Mail that in 2014 he raised rumours about allegations of bullying in the Welsh Government with the First Minister in the chamber, allegations that he says Carwyn Jones denied.

Mr Millar tells the newspaper that he believes that denial has been directly contradicted by claims of a 'toxic' culture in the Welsh Government at that time made by former minister Leighton Andrews and that he will use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the information if need be.

UKIP's group of Assembly Members intend to force a no confidence vote in the First Minister next week but they may be frustrated in their attempts.

The Assembly's rules require a minimum of six members to table a confidence motion and there are only five UKIP AMs. A spokesperson says they will discuss their plans with other parties. It seems unlikely that those other parties will back UKIP's motion but events are highly unpredictable.

What is certain is that the Assembly will attempt to get back to something approaching normal business next week. That business will begin at 12.30 on Tuesday with a special session in the chamber to give AMs chance to pay tribute to Carl Sargeant.

Following a short break, the scheduled plenary meeting is expected to continue with First Minister's Questions.

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