Dawn Butler retracts call for probe into Labour's handling of Carl Sargeant case

Posted On: 
8th November 2017

Dawn Butler has defended Labour's handling of allegations against former Welsh minister Carl Sargeant - just minutes after criticising it.

Carl Sargeant was found dead at home yesterday.
Credit: 
PA Images

The shadow women and equalities minister's comments came in the wake of Carl Sargeant's shock death yesterday.

Mr Sargeant's body was discovered at his home in Connah Quay, North Wales, yesterday.

He was sacked four days earlier by Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones following allegations made against him.

His family have insisted that Mr Sargeant had protested his innocence, and criticised the Labour party for failing to reveal the full details of the allegations he faced.

A spokesperson said: "The distress of not being able to defend himself properly against these unspecified allegations meant he was not afforded common courtesy, decency or natural justice."

Appearing on Radio Five Live this morning, Ms Butler also joined in the criticism of her party's disciplinary processes.

She said: "There needs to be an independent professional body that comes out and investigates what happened in that circumstance, because it doesn’t sound as though everything that should have happened, happened. It needs to be fully investigated and independently investigated.

"I don’t know what happened and how it transpired and how it was handled.  But the Labour party’s process is that once there’s an allegation, the person is supposed to be told what that allegation is, because otherwise they’re not able to produce a defence on the issue."

But in an extraordinary development, Ms Butler issued a statement shortly afterwards contradicting her earlier remarks.

She said: "After giving an interview this morning, I have looked further into the process followed in this case. I am satisfied that the appropriate process was followed, including preserving the anonymity of alleged victims at this stage of the process, and therefore do not feel an investigation is required."

TRIBUTES

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson both paid tribute to Mr Sargeant yesterday.

Mr Corbyn said: “This is terrible and deeply shocking news. My thoughts and profound sympathy are with Carl’s family, friends and colleagues."

Mr Watson said: "I campaigned with Carl for many years. He was a powerful voice for working people and Wales.

"He put community at the heart of his politics and was respected by his constituents for it. My love and prayers are with Carl’s family today. This is a tragedy beyond words."