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Cornwall council investigates Collin Brewer's disability comments

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: May 15, 2013

Cornwall council investigates Collin Brewer's disability comments

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Comments made by controversial councillor Collin Brewer are now being investigated by Cornwall Council to find out if he has breached the authority’s code of conduct.

The announcement from the unitary body comes the day after Devon and Cornwall Police announced they were investigating whether comments he made about the cost of disabled children, had broken the law.

Mr Brewer provoked public outrage in February when it emerged that in 2011 he had told a member of Hayle charity Disability Cornwall’s staff that “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down”.

The member for Wadebridge East resigned his seat on Cornwall Council but decided to stand again and was re-elected with a margin of four votes.

Last weekend, Mr Brewer came under fire again after allegedly making a series of further comments on the subject of disabled children when being interviewed by the Disability News Service (DNS).

Mr Brewer said he had been approached by a farmer in his ward about his original comments, who made it clear he “didn’t see a lot wrong with what I said, because it is something they do every day”.

He said: “If they have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it. They get rid of it. Bang.”

Today, Cornwall Council has issued a statement saying it has received numerous complaints from members of the public over Mr Brewer’s recent comments.

The statment said: “In recognition of the concerns which have been expressed, the council’s monitoring officer requested that the complaints be assessed as a matter of urgency in accordance with the council’s ethical standards regime.

“It has now been formally determined that the case merits a full investigation to decide whether there has been a breach of the Members Code of Conduct and, if so, the nature and extent of that breach.”

The investigation, which will be carried out by a senior lawyer from within the council’s corporate governance team, will be expedited.

Earlier this week the leaders of the main political parties on the council issued a joint statement, which described Mr Brewer’s comments as “completely unacceptable”.

The council's statement issued today said that it was anticipated that Mr Brewer would not be allocated any seats on council committees.

It continued: “The authority does not have the legal power to sack a councillor and following the Government’s abolition of Standards for England in 2012 and changes to the Code of Conduct regime the council no longer has the ability to suspend councillors."

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