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Welsh politician dies days after allegations of improper conduct - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Welsh politician dies days after allegations of improper conduct

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**This image is for use with this specific article only**  Former Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant, who was removed from office last week following undisclosed allegations about his personal conduct, has died. **This image is for use with this specific article only** Former Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant, who was removed from office last week following undisclosed allegations about his personal conduct, has died.
By Hilary Clarke CNN

LONDON (CNN) -- Former Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant, who was removed from office last week following undisclosed allegations about his personal conduct, was found dead Tuesday.

Sargeant is understood to have taken his own life, CNN affiliate ITN and the UK Press Association reported.

North Wales Police told CNN on Tuesday that they were not treating his death as suspicious and that the matter has been referred to the coroner.

Sargeant, 49, was minister for communities and children in the Welsh Assembly, the elected parliament for Wales, until he was suspended from Labour party membership and "removed" from the Assembly's cabinet last Friday.

In a statement on Friday, Sargeant said he was told by First Minister Carwyn Jones about the existence of "shocking and distressing" allegations against him, but said he had not been given details about the claims. He said he had asked for an independent inquiry "to allow me to clear my name."

"I won't be commenting further at this stage," he added.

Sargeant, who was married and had two children, was a "much loved husband, father and friend," his family said in a statement to PA.

The news of Sargeant's death represents a tragic twist to a growing sexual harassment scandal that has shaken British politics.

At least seven Conservative lawmakers and three Labour politicians have been accused of inappropriate behavior towards female staff and colleagues.

These include UK Prime Minister Theresa May's de facto deputy, Damian Green, who has denied allegations that "extreme" pornographic material was found on his work computer in 2008.

Green is also set to be interviewed as part of a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations made by journalist Kate Maltby that the Conservative lawmaker made unwanted advances towards her during a meeting in 2015. Green described the allegations as "completely untrue" last week.

May is also still recovering from the loss of her Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who resigned on Wednesday amid allegations of improper conduct.

Journalist Jane Merrick, who is a contributor to CNN, revealed that Fallon lunged at her and attempted to kiss her on the lips after a lunch meeting in 2003.

May held a meeting Monday night to look at ways to protect political staff.

On Tuesday, British opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "I'm deeply shocked to hear of the terrible news about Carl Sargeant. My thoughts and profound sympathy are with his family and friends."

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson told the Press Association: "I campaigned with Carl for many years. He was a powerful voice for working people and Wales. He put community at the heart of his politics and was respected by his constituents for it. My love and prayers are with Carl's family today. This is a tragedy beyond words."

His biography on the website of the Welsh National Assembly says he was married with two children.

Before becoming an Assembly Member in 2003, Sargeant worked at a leading chemical manufacturing plant and was an environmental auditor and industrial firefighter.

He was a campaigner against domestic abuse and a supporter of the local women's shelter and the "White Ribbon" campaign by men to end violence in the home, according to the Welsh Assembly website.

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