Firefighting, football and equality: who was Welsh minister Carl Sargeant?

Firefighting, football and equality - Who was Welsh minister Carl Sargeant?

Carl Sargeant was found dead at his home (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Carl Sargeant was found dead this week, following allegations that led to him being sacked. Before this, however, he had been widely praised for much of his hard work.

After losing his job as a Welsh Labour minister on Friday, yesterday (November 7) Sargeant was found dead at his home. It is thought that he committed suicide.

He had been removed from his position due to allegations made against him about his behaviour which were passed on to First Minister Carwyn Jones. They were then given to the party itself. Sargeant is understood to not have received details about the allegations himself, but was quoted saying that he'd clear his name.

Sargeant had several different jobs. He worked at specialist chemical manufacturers Warwick International which is situated in Mostyn, north Wales, as a process operator. He was also part of the emergency response team at the plant and took on the role of quality environmental auditor, according to Wales Online.

Sargeant also trained as an industrial firefighter and was a governor at Deeside College and Ysgol Bryn Deva. Sargeant became a member of Connah’s Quay Town Council before becoming part of the National Assembly.

He was married to Bernie, and the couple had two children, Lucy and Jack. A statement has been released by the family which said: "Carl was a much loved husband, father and friend. He wasn't simply a part of our family. He was the glue that bound us together. He was the heart of our family. We loved him so very much."

It went on to say that the family is "devastated beyond words" and is in "shock and grief."

Sargeant was also the president of FC Nomads of Connah’s Quay but enjoyed watching Newcastle FC. The Welsh Assembly website says football is an interest of his family.

He was elected as Labour's AM for Alyn and Deeside in the National Assembly in 2003, but his career did not stop there. In 2007 he became the chief whip of the Labour Group as well as deputy minister for assembly business.

Just two years later he was able to become the minister for social justice and local government, following Rhodri Morgan's decision to step down as First Minister. At the time Sargeant described holding the position as an honour.

Whilst holding this position he is said to have championed women’s rights and equality whilst also backing many initiatives in an attempt to fight against domestic violence.

The Welsh Assembly website says he was passionate about this because he saw the impact the closure of Shotton Steelworks in his community had. Many were left unemployed and turned to heavy drinking and domestic violence in the 1980s.

After this Sargeant was given the position of minister for local government and communities. One of his most impactful decisions was to put commissioners in place of Anglesey council, which had been subject to political infighting for years. Following this, he was minister for housing and regeneration, and minister for natural resources.

Just last year he became the cabinet secretary for communities and children, which involved work to ensure high-rise blocks in Wales were safe following the Grenfell Tower fire.