Ensuring that circumstances which led to the death of AM Carl Sargeant do not happen again is the most important part of the investigation process, according to his son.
Jack Sargeant, the new Labour AM for Alyn and Deeside, said the “key thing” of the inquiries being conducted into the events surrounding his father’s death last year was making sure “no family has to go through that”.
Mr Sargeant spoke to the Leader ahead of his first plenary session as a new Assembly Member in the Senedd after winning last week’s by-election – prompted by his father’s death in November.
The 23-year-old revealed he had received no formal contact from First Minister Carwyn Jones since his victory on February 6 and was not involved directly in any discussions about Mr Jones visiting the constituency to campaign.
An independent inquiry into the circumstances that led to Mr Sargeant’s death – four days after being sacked by Mr Jones as Welsh Government cabinet secretary for communities and children – is expected to take up to four months.
Another two investigations, around alleged leaks and potential breach of the Ministerial Code by Mr Jones have also been launched.
In his victory speech last week, Mr Sargeant said grief for his father would continue and told the Leader of how he and his family had dealt with the loss of the former AM three months ago.
He said: “Many people asked that on the doorstep. My response tended to be: ‘It’s not just us’.
“We’re going through what is the toughest time of our lives, the hardest time of our lives. But it is the whole community and it’d be very hard to imagine if this shock and pain will ever happen again in this way. It can't happen again.
“We’re hoping to achieve that, to make sure the inquiries are in place and the key thing of the inquiry for me is to make sure this does not happen again because no family should have to go through that.”
Mr Sargeant said the support from members of the local community had helped his family through the tough times, helped him “develop as a person”.
He paid tribute to the outreach of friends and strangers as it had been “difficult for the whole community”.
He vowed that, as the new AM, he was sure “we’ll help each other through more times to come in the future.”
“It’s not about us just as a family, it’s our community. We’ve got a special, close-knit community, but the pain from this tragedy has been felt right across the UK and by people who never met dad before,” he said.
“We’ve got through and are getting through this hard time thanks to those people around us, close friends and family, and the strangers in the street and the community of Alyn and Deeside.
“They have helped us as a family more than they will ever know, so we can't thank them enough.”
With the circumstances surrounding his father’s death dominating the election campaign, Mr Sargeant said he would not have gone into the election “without the backing of the family, especially mum and Lucy.
“It was important to me that they were 100 per cent behind me all the way through,” he said.
Mr Sargeant, who said his election victory “is not just about me, it’s about all of us, we’ve done it together and it’s brilliant,” was keen to show he was ready to not only continue the late cabinet secretary’s work, but offer a new way of thinking.
He said: “I’m my own man. I stood to carry on dad’s hard work and the legacy he left for this community and everything he’s achieved - but also to enhance that with my own ideas and skill-set.
“I’ve come from industry. My main passion is education and skills, and I’ll be looking to enhance that.
“There are inquiries in place and I’ll be there in Cardiff to make sure they reach their potential and the process goes as it should.
“I’m not a single issue candidate and I’m not a single issue elected Assembly Member now.”
Work began in Cardiff Bay in earnest yesterday after a “mad, whirlwind couple of days” trying to catch up on sleep.
Mr Sargeant admitted he was a little nervous, but “excited to get down there” to the Senedd.
He wants to take “each day as it comes” while “doing the best job I can.”
Away from Cardiff, Mr Sargeant said within his first 100 days as an Assembly Member he would hold a jobs and prosperity summit and formulate a plan “for how Alyn and Deeside is going to attack the future.”