In my tribute to Carl I want to share my memories of this ‘gentle giant’- a man who was witty, loving and loveable, deeply principled, a good friend, comrade and ministerial colleague.
The impact he had as a Minister and Cabinet Secretary are on record and I want to add to these tributes today from my experience.
Carl was appointed Minister for Social Justice and Local Government just before the Coalition cuts started to impact on our Budgets. He was wholly committed to the local government, social justice, housing, regeneration and transport briefs he held in these difficult times for public finances.
As Finance Minister, I worked with him to help him achieve what he wanted-more money for social housing. That sort of ministerial partnership is the most rewarding – I backed him and we got the money out when we could in difficult times-providing homes for those most in need.
I want to say something about Carl as Chief Whip.
He reigned with humour and tact. Being Chief Whip got into his blood so that I could always rely on him when I took on the role to back me up.
He was also ready to shout ‘Object’ whenever he feared I wasn’t ‘on the ball’ at the end of a debate we were amending or opposing!
I also bring memories shared by constituents in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Kay Quinn reminded me of Carl’s visit to Atal y Fro in Barry showing his formidable leadership in tackling domestic abuse and violence against women.
The response from BAWSO last week from Mutale Merril was– ‘we have lost a champion.’
He came to Barry to help move forward the regeneration which has made such an impact on the town. And he was warmly welcomed when he launched the housing refurbishment of Gibbonsdown -which has transformed the lives of people living on the estate.
On a campaigning level I remember walking across the cliffs at Nash Point with Carl on a freezing February day during the 2015 General Election campaign, when he announced a moratorium on fracking as Minister for Environment. HE made that decision and immediately wrote to all local authorities with his instructions – a Minister who meant what he said and delivered on it.
Thank you Carl as we remember you – beloved by your family, loved and respected by us all here today. A man and a Minister who served Wales so well -greatly admired and greatly missed.