The new Assembly Member for Alyn and Deeside has taken his oath of allegiance.
Jack Sargeant was formally returned as the new AM during a signing in ceremony in Colwyn Bay just hours after being confirmed as the winner of Tuesday’s by-election.
Mr Sargeant, 23, was confirmed as the new Senedd representative for Alyn and Deeside in his home town of Connah’s Quay with 60 per cent of the vote.
He takes up the role previously held by his father, Carl, for 14 years until his death on November 7 at the age of 49.
In receiving 11,267 votes Mr Sargeant saw off the challenge of Sarah Atherton, for the Welsh Conservatives, who came in second place with 4,722 votes – a majority of 6,545, increasing his father's majority by 1,181 from two years ago.
Donna Lalek of the Welsh Liberal Democrats received 1,176 votes in third place while Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru, secured 1,059.
Duncan Rees of Wales Green Party was fifth, tallying 353 votes.
A total of 18,574 votes were cast on a turn out of 29.08 per cent – an decrease of
six per cent on 2016 – as voters stayed away from the 42 polling stations in the cold winter weather.
The turnout was the second lowest in constituency history in Assembly elections since Mr Sargeant’s father's was first elected in 2003 when just 24.9 per cent got out to vote.
Taking to Twitter
following the formal signing in, the new AM – and the ‘Baby of the Senedd’ as the youngest in Wales – said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to have been elected as the Assembly Member for Alyn and Deeside.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn offered his congratulations, tweeting: “Congratulations Jack on winning Alyn and Deeside with an increased share of the vote. You will be a fantastic voice for your community and for all young people in Wales.”
First Minister Carwyn Jones, who was asked not to attend the funeral of Carl Sargeant by his family, offered his congratulations on a “decisive” win for Welsh Labour by the new AM.
“A well deserved result,” he tweeted.
Mr Sargeant’s opponents also posted messages on social media after the emotional by-election campaign.
Runner-up Sarah Atherton, Welsh Conservatives, said the vote had been “a great night” for the Welsh Conservatives.
She said: “We managed to increase our vote share by 4.4 per cent.
“Thank you to everyone who braved the cold to cast their vote.
“We’ve got a great base to build on and we’re all looking forward to carrying on the fantastic work we’ve started.
“Finally, congratulations to Jack Sargeant. I’m sure he'll do his very best in his new role as AM.”
Donna Lalek, Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate who came in third, paid tribute to those who had supported her through the campaign.
She tweeted: “A huge thank you to my Lib Dem family, actual family, friends and colleagues for their love, help and support.
“A massive thank you to everyone who voted for me. I am sorry I will not be representing you but I will still be fighting for you.
“The fight for the future of Alyn and Deeside is not over. It has only just begun.
“We deserve better and I will make sure we get it, no matter how hard I have to fight or how long it takes. Labour must do better.”
In Cardiff Bay Elin Jones AM, Y Llwydd/presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, tweeted her welcome to the Senedd's newest member.
She said: “Llongyfarchiadau Jack, Congratulations. I look forward to welcoming you to the Assembly as you start your work to represent the people of Alyn and Deeside.”
l Comment – page 13.