The Welsh Government has been defeated on a vote in the Senedd. Labour AMs abstained on whether to publish details of a leak investigation, covering events leading up to the death of Carl Sargeant. Ministers say they aren't bound by the vote but that they will share information with a wider inquiry that's now underway.
The vote was 25 in favour, with 26 abstentions, on an opposition motion calling for the Welsh Government’s most senior civil servant, Permanent Secretary Shan Morgan, to publish a redacted version of her report that found there had been no unauthorised sharing of information with individuals outside government before the ministerial reshuffle.
The reshuffle last November saw the sacking of Carl Sargeant from the cabinet, following allegations about his personal conduct. Days later, he was found dead at his home. An inquest has not yet been held but it's believed that he took his own life.
As the Permanent Secretary is not directly answerable to AMs, the Welsh Government argues that it is not bound by the vote. That argument has now been challenged by the Welsh Conservatives.
Today’s vote shows that it is the democratic will of the Welsh Parliament for the Permanent Secretary to make public an appropriately redacted version of her leak inquiry report. The cross-party support for the report’s release is evidenced by the fact that not one Member voted against our motion.
Immediately after that vote the Llywydd, or Presiding Officer, Elin Jones suggested that she had some sympathy with that point of view, ruling that any vote in the Senedd "has effect". She was responding to a point of order from a Conservative AM.
This Parliament has now voted in favour of this motion calling for greater transparency, I therefore ask for your guidance on whether this vote, on behalf of the people of Wales, should now be respected.
Any vote of the National Assembly is important and has effect and it is for the Government now, of course, to decide how it chooses to respond, but I would expect it to take seriously any resolution passed by this Parliament.