Wales politics

'When did Carwyn Jones know about Carl Sargeant claims?'

Carl Sargeant

"What did the President know and when did he know it?"

Those of you who remember the Watergate scandal, or who have read about it in the history books, will know that Richard Nixon's failure to answer that question was central to his downfall.

Although I don't want to compare the situation of Carwyn Jones and Nixon too much, the first minister faces a quite similar question.

What did he know about allegations of misconduct against Carl Sargeant - and when?

In a television interview two days ago, the day before the death of the ex-cabinet secretary, Carwyn Jones insisted that the first time he heard of the allegations was last week. This is what he told ITV Cymru Wales' political editor Adrian Masters.

Adrian Masters: "So you knew at the beginning of the week, you had not heard any hint of these allegations before then?

Carwyn Jones: "No, they were drawn to my attention at the beginning of the week".

That is quite clear, but this is the problem: multiple sources from more than one party have told me that Carwyn Jones has discussed allegations of misconduct with Carl Sargeant once before, and had received an explanation of the incident.

The same sources also suggest the allegation was one of those that the first minister had asked the party to investigate following his sacking.

If so, the response of Carwyn Jones to the question of Adrian Masters was misleading to say the least.

Are the sources right? The simple answer is I don't know.

But Carwyn Jones knows the truth and he should answer the question as soon as possible.

In the meantime, true or not, rumours spread and the first minister's support erodes.

This blog was originally published at Cymru Fyw here.

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