AMs have paid tribute to the “jovial but determined” former Welsh Labour minister Carl Sargeant.

Mr Sargeant was found dead four days after he was sacked by Carwyn Jones, pending an investigation into claims of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Jones told AMs on Tuesday: “He will be missed by his family, by those in this chamber and by the nation”.

Presiding Officer Elin Jones said Mr Sargeant’s death had “shaken us to our core”.

AMs held a minute’s silence in honour of the AM for Alyn and Deeside.

The first minister said Mr Sargeant was “ever present in the cabinet and with good reason”.

“I appointed him because he was good with legislation, he was good with people and he brought the voice of Deeside to the heart of government.”

He said Mr Sargeant was “well liked and committed”, “jovial but determined”, and “firm but fun”.

Mr Jones expressed his “deep sympathies” to Mr Sargeant’s family – present in the assembly for the tributes.

“For them its been a time of unbearable loss and deep trauma,” he said.

Elin Jones said: “This death has shaken us to our core and his absence from our midst pains us today.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said the former minister was “one of the most genuine men I’ve had the privilege to meet”.

“Carl was a character but he was a serious individual who knew what his role was in this institution”, he said. “That role was to speak for the people of Alyn & Deeside speak for the people the length and breadth of Wales.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said she was struck by “his rootedness and his authenticity”.

“He was a politician who was authentically working class, he was rooted in and committed to his community, living among the people he represented, never forgetting them always working for them,” she said.

Assembly members began the session with a minute’s silence

Neil Hamilton, UKIP Wales leader, said: “Although the full story is yet to be established Carl did not deserve to suffer as he did.

“I know from bitter personal experience the anguish which must have engulfed Carl, and his family, just over a week ago in the wake of the allegations against him,” he said.

“Carl’s family has lost it’s mainspring, the assembly has lost a worthy member, Wales has lost a devoted son,” he added.

Alun Davies, Welsh Government local government secretary, paid an emotional tribute to Carl.

Addressing his widow, he said: “Bernie, we’re all going to miss Carl, more than you’ll ever believe.”

Lesley Griffiths, AM for Wrexham and rural affairs secretary, said: “Carl had a wicked sense of humour and loved making me and others laugh.”

“I know he loved me as a sister,” she added.

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Mr Jones has faced about his handling of the communities secretary’s dismissal and his suspension from the Labour Party.

The first minister has said he had “, but last week announced there would be an independent inquiry into the events surrounding his death.

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