Carwyn Jones has called for an independent inquiry to examine his own “actions and decisions” in the lead up to the death of Carl Sargeant.
A spokesman for Wales’ First Minister said he believed a senior QC should look into his handling of allegations against the former assembly member, who was found dead on Tuesday, but said it will not take place before an inquest.
Mr Sargeant, 49, is believed to have killed himself four days after being suspended from the Labour Party and removed from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children following claims of “unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping”.
A spokesman for Mr Jones said: “Further to the First Minister’s comments yesterday about the need for independent scrutiny of his actions and decisions in relation to Carl Sargeant, he agrees that there should be an independent inquiry and it would be proper to ask a senior QC to lead that work.
“To ensure this happens separately from his office, the First Minister has asked the Permanent Secretary to begin preparatory work for this inquiry, and to make contact with the family to discuss the terms of reference and the identity of the QC.
“It is our understanding that such an inquiry should not take place before the outcome of a coroner’s inquest – but we will take further advice on this matter.”
But Mr Sargeant’s family has hit out at the handling of the case, saying there had been “serious failings”.
In a statement, his family said a coroner’s inquest would not be able to unveil the complete picture.
It said: “An independent inquiry will ask all the questions that need to be asked and have not been answered and will determine the reasons for the serious failings in following the correct procedures, practices and protocols, and the reasons for the complete abdication of responsibility and duty of care that was owed to Carl.”
It comes after former minister Leighton Andrews claimed Mr Jones knew his colleague was “fragile” before sacking him.
He also spoke of a “toxic” atmosphere in government rife with “minor bullying, mind-games, power-games, favouritism, inconsistency of treatment to different ministers and deliberate personal undermining”.
He added: “Carl was unquestionably the target of some of this behaviour.”
Friday’s announcement comes following pressure from Welsh Tory leader Andrew Davies, who also called for an inquiry into the culture within government.