BREAKING NEWS: Collin Brewer resigns
It was the worst kept secret in local politics – but today Collin Brewer has officially stood down.
Mr Brewer’s resignation as a councillor for the Wadebridge East ward takes immediate effect.
The council said it received the letter from Mr Brewer today and the authority will now make arrangements for a by-election.
The news comes just days after he was found guilty of breaching the Councillors’ Code of Conduct for what Cornwall Council said were “grossly offensive” comments about disabled children following an interview he gave to the Disability News Network have.
The authority condemned his remarks allegedly comparing disabled babies with deformed lambs as both outrageous and grossly insensitive and entirely inconsistent with the standards expected of a Cornwall councillor.
The report issued this week concluded Mr Brewer had seriously breached local government code of conduct rules and imposed sanctions that have made it impossible for the Wadebridge councillor to carry on in the job.
The 69 year-old first stood down in February after it was revealed that in 2011 he told a worker for Disability Cornwall disabled children should be “put down’’ as they cost the council too much money, remarks that caused nationwide outrage.
But he stood again in the May elections and won the Wadebridge East seat by four votes.
A few days later he gave an interview to Disability News journalist John Pring, when he is alleged to have compared disabled babies to deformed lambs, which prompted the Cornwall Council investigation.
Stephen Knightley, who narrowly lost the Wadebridge East seat to Mr Brewer in May, said yesterday: “Collin must do the honourable thing and resign. His remarks about disabled children have done Wadebridge and Cornwall no good at all.
“We have not had any representation at Cornwall Council for Wadebridge East since February, and I hope elections will be held as soon as possible,’’ adding that he would again stand for the ward.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, added: "The Councillor’s ill-judged and insensitive comments on disabled children demonstrated that he was clearly not fit for office. The council is right to find him guilty. We believe he has made the right decision in stepping down.
“Luckily such sickening views are rare. But almost a year on from the Paralympics disabled people tell us that public attitudes towards them remain an issue.
"Disabled people are concerned about the impact of scrounger rhetoric. We need to re-open the debate on attitudes to disability.”