Wales politics

Jack Sargeant wins Alyn and Deeside by-election

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Media captionJack Sargeant: "Let's be kind to each other... the message I learnt from my dad"

The son of a sacked former Welsh Labour minister whose death sparked a by-election has won the vote and will succeed his father as an AM.

Jack Sargeant, 23, won the Alyn and Deeside assembly by-election for Labour with a majority of 6,545.

He said: "I'm looking forward to going down to Cardiff Bay and standing up for the people of Alyn and Deeside."

The seat in Flintshire became vacant after Carl Sargeant was found dead at home in Connah's Quay on 7 November.

Speaking on stage after the result was announced at Coleg Cambria in Connah's Quay, Jack Sargeant said: "We still are devastated by dad's death.

"This is a by-election we shouldn't be fighting. There are questions still to be answered. But tonight is not the night for those questions to be answered.

"Despite the tragic circumstances, this is now an opportunity to start a movement to change politics. Let's go back to traditional Labour values and look after those who can't look after themselves.

He said he wanted "a kind message in life in general, not just in politics.

"Let's be kind to each other...that's the message I learned from my dad."

Image copyright Assembly Commission
Image caption Jack Sargeant signing the Oath of Allegiance to become an assembly member

Carl Sargeant was Alyn and Deeside AM from 2003 until his death.

Sacked as cabinet secretary for communities and children amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, he was found dead four days later having apparently taken his own life.

First Minister Carwyn Jones faces two ongoing investigations - one into his handling of the sacking of Carl Sargeant while the other is considering whether he misled the assembly in statements about what he knew about allegations of bullying within the Welsh Government in 2014.

After the by-election result was declared, Welsh Government Economy Secretary and Labour Clwyd South AM Ken Skates was asked if Jack Sargeant would now be a thorn in the side of the first minister.

"I don't think so, no," he said.

"He'll be a thorn in the side of the Tories, that's for sure, and he'll be a thorn in the side of anybody who stands in the way of the best interests of the people of Alyn and Deeside.

"That's what Jack's focused on, that's what he's going to deliver."

Speaking before the result, Clwyd West Conservative AM Darren Millar said it would be "an endorsement of Jack and Carl Sargeant's family".

"I don't think in any way the Labour party or Carwyn Jones can claim credit for what I think will be a clear win for Jack Sargeant," he said.

Full result

  • Jack Sargeant, Labour - 11,267 (60.7% - up 14.9)
  • Sarah Atherton, Conservative - 4,722 (25.4% - up 4.4)
  • Donna Lalek, Liberal Democrat - 1,176 (6.3% - up 1.8)
  • Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru - 1,059 (5.7% - down 3.3)
  • Duncan Rees, Green Party - 353 (1.9% - down 0.5)
  • Turnout - 29.1% (down 5.5)

Analysis from Daniel Davies, BBC Wales political correspondent

No surprises that Jack Sargeant won this by-election. In the end, he increased Labour's majority.

So he's off to Cardiff Bay, following in his late father's footsteps.

When he gets there, what sort of relationship will he have with First Minister Carwyn Jones, who dismissed his father?

People around Jack Sargeant answer that by saying he's a team player.

There are outstanding questions however, as Jack Sargeant acknowledged in his acceptance speech, about the way Carl Sargeant was sacked.

An independent inquiry will look into all of that - and the Sargeant family has a role in helping to draw up the inquiry's terms of reference.

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