Carwyn Jones 'stands by' answers on bullying in Welsh Government

By Arwyn Jones
BBC Wales political correspondent

Media caption,
Carwyn Jones: "I don't know what the accusations are any more - there are so many of them"

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said he "stands by the answers I've given" following fresh accusations he has misled the assembly over allegations of bullying within the Welsh Government.

Former minister Leighton Andrews alleged he had misled AMs "on several occasions" on what he knew.

Mr Jones told BBC Wales it was "hugely important" the matter was being dealt with by an independent advisor.

He added he would not allow it to "deflect" him from his work.

Mr Andrews brought up allegations of bullying within the Welsh Government in 2014 following the death of his former cabinet colleague Carl Sargeant in November, saying they had both been targeted.

The first minister has referred allegations he misled the assembly when questioned about the matter to an independent inquiry led by Irish lawyer James Hamilton.

Image source, Rhondda Cynon Taf council
Image caption,
Carl Sargeant was found dead four days after being sacked from the Welsh cabinet

In an email to the first minister sent last Tuesday, Mr Andrews said: "I regret to say that I believe that you have misled the National Assembly on several occasions since Carl Sargeant's death, notably in answers in First Minister's Questions on 21 November and 5 December, and in a variety of written answers relating to what you knew about bullying or other issues of concern and when, whether there had been complaints or demands put to you by me or others for a formal investigation, and whether or not questions had been raised with you as to whether a special adviser had broken the code for special advisers."

Responding to the allegation, Mr Jones told BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme: "I stand by the answers that I've given.

"I don't know what the accusations are any more - there are so many of them, they vary over time.

"I think it's hugely important for everybody that this is dealt with in the proper way, that it should not be dealt with in the media but dealt with as part of the investigation of the independent adviser."

Image caption,
Darren Millar said Carl Sargeant asked him for help as bullying was "taking a toll" on him

On Wednesday, Conservative AM Darren Millar revealed it was Mr Sargeant who had asked him to table written questions to the first minister in 2014, to establish what he knew about allegations of bullying by staff working for him or the Welsh Government.

Mr Jones said the string of allegations made against him over the past weeks had not distracted him from his duties as first minister.

"Nothing overshadows all the work we do," he said.

"I'm here to do a job; to deliver for the people of Wales, to deliver on the manifesto that we were elected on last year. Nothing will deflect me from that.

"When you're in government you have to go on, you have to deliver for people, you don't get deflected from that."

Sunday Politics Wales is on BBC One Wales on Sunday 17 December at 11:00 GMT

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