Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister
This Written Statement is being issued following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant and the findings of HM Coroner for North Wales. I would again wish to extend my deepest condolences to the Sargeant family. I know they continue to grieve deeply for their loss.
As part of his duties, the Coroner has a responsibility to consider whether to make a report in relation to the prevention of future deaths. He has issued a regulation 28 report to the Welsh Government, and we will respond in full to this within the required timescale. In advance of this week’s hearings, and in response to a request from the Coroner, I made a statement to the inquest in which I set out the nature of the pastoral care and support made available to Ministers who are leaving government.
Now that the inquest process has come to an end, it is right that there is a period of reflection. I will assess what further steps should be taken, in consultation with the Sargeant family and other interested parties, including the future of the Independent QC Investigation (IQCI) process, in light of the scope and detail of the Coroner’s inquest.
Ahead of that, and as I set out in my Written Statement to Members in April, I am publishing the civil service ‘leak inquiry’ closure report into prior disclosure of information in relation to the 2017 Cabinet reshuffle, which has been made available to the Coroner. The UK Cabinet Office has confirmed that the methodology of the inquiry followed the approach that it would take in carrying out similar investigations.
I also publish my correspondence with Jonathan Jones QC in relation to his independent examination of the IQCI’s Operational Protocol which I commissioned following the judicial review conclusions earlier this year, and a revised Protocol following his review. As stated previously a revised Protocol is one of the options I wish to have available to me in assessing next steps. Along with the report of the Hamilton inquiry which has previously been laid before the Assembly, this means that all formal documents and reports held by the Welsh Government in relation to this issue are now published in one place.
I will update Members on my decisions in relation to next steps as soon my consideration of the matters mentioned above is complete.