Carwyn Jones set to stand down as Welsh First Minister in the autumn
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that he will be stepping down from the role later this year.
Mr Jones made the shock announcement to party delegates at the Welsh Labour Conference yesterday as he spoke of “the darkest of times” following the death of Labour’s Carl Sargeant.
Mr Sargeant was found dead last November, days after being suspended by Welsh Labour following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Following his death, the Welsh assembly heard claims of a "toxic" culture of bullying in the Welsh Government dating back to 2014, and the First Minister referred himself to an inquiry after assembly members questioned whether he had misled them by saying no complaints had been raised.
The probe concluded that there was no evidence complaints were raised by Mr Sargeant, and said the First Minister did not break the ministerial code in his evidence to AMs.
Announcing his departure after nine years in the role, Mr Jones said that he wanted a “fresh start” for his family and for the party.
"I don't think anyone can know what the last few months have been like - no one apart from Lisa and the kids.
"They have carried me through the darkest of times. I have asked too much of them at times. It's time for me to think about what's fair to them."
"This will be the last Welsh Labour conference I address as party leader.
"I intend to stand down as your leader in the autumn allowing for a new first minister to take their place by the end of this year.
"By that point it will make sense to have a fresh start for my family, my party and my country."
His comments come ahead of a fresh probe into the circumstances of Carl Sargeant's sacking which is yet to begin.
Speaking after the First Minister’s announcement, Mr Sargeant’s son Jack said: “Nothing changes. The inquiries are still relevant and should continue.”
Jeremy Corbyn, who is set to address Welsh delegates later today, thanked the First Minister for leading Welsh Labour to “unprecedented electoral success”.
The Labour leader said: “I would like to thank Carwyn Jones for his service as leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister of Wales, having led Welsh Labour to achieve unprecedented electoral success. I pay tribute to his commitment to standing up to Tory austerity and standing up for the people of Wales.”
Labour’s Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said: "Carwyn has been a brilliant leader of Welsh Labour, and an outstanding First Minister. Truly a giant of Welsh politics. We wish him well."