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Cornwall councillor Collin Brewer resigns

By CG_News  |  Posted: July 10, 2013

Collin Brewer

Comments (26)

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.

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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.”

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  • Narries  |  July 14 2013, 10:12AM

    I will say this, although it might be mighty unpopular ith some commenters ( the protesters) and I hope I will not find them camped on my lawn tomorrow morning , or worse, protesting outside my employers offices demanding my resignation having witch hunted me down Its set dangerous precidents. First precident now set here is that money for the disabled must be ring fenced as no one can dare question it being spent, or how it is spent ( as Colin Brewer has demonstrated). No matter how poorly he phrased it, his point was to ask what and how much money we should be spending on services for the disabled and whether that was justified. That was his job as holder of the purse strings on behalf of the electorate. This means that because that money ( my council tax paying money) is ring fenced , something else has to give. I assume that will therefore be some service I use instead. Since I only use cleansing and roads I guess its those that will get cut. Secondly, more worryingly, it sets a precident that some minority interest groups can control the democratic process unfairly. Potesting is a right of such groups, but demanding and getting a resignation from a democratically elected representitive is not democratic . I have to ask myself the question now as to whether the councilors are in the pocket of this group and whether thay can be trusted to be fair and impartial in decision making. Although I recognise why, I fear we have a lilly livered bunch of councillors who are afraid to stand up and do their jobs . Thats bad. But of course, they ( like me) are probably afraid that the protesters will come and park on their lawns too and bring the hangin' rope or worse, they will threaten your job and livlihood - and with Mr. Brewer they have shown they can. Oh the power, and how power corrupts. . Thats not good. That is also a precident. To rule by fear. Of course I do not expect this to be here long. Free speech is dead and no doubt I will be censured for daring to raise this but hopefull not before it is read by a few. .

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  • Narries  |  July 13 2013, 4:54PM

    "As a lifelong constituent of Wadebridge East I will not be voting in any by-election for any of the other candidates and in fact myself and others take the view that this campaign against Colin just may have been politically motivated in the first place!" Well said Nigel H. I agree. If we cannot speak for ourselves or make ourselves heard , who will speak for us? Clearly not those who want to make political gain from the by -- election.

  • Narries  |  July 13 2013, 4:36PM

    To be honest I am angry and disgusted at those who have forced this man out of his democratically elected position. So much, I have no time for the disabled lobby now ( and may just be a tiiny bit annoyed with the disabled who I now see as a stereotype of troublemaking loud mouthed bully boys who cannot live with free speech and real democracy. I hope you are satisfied. I am not. I am now looking for the candidate who can stand up against these people. Leaving aside all of that a minute - doesnt anyone think it is about time we had this debate? the one which inspired the comments that started this off ( or are the disabled too afraid to have it?) The real debate about how much disabled children cost us as council tax payers and indeed tax payers generally - and whether we should be paying and if not what should happen? We seem to allow these views to be aired when it comes to the elderly, many of whom have led productive lives and cost us little in their old age, exept maybe for their last six months or so - and yet, no one shouts shame when it is suggested they might be "put down" (the Liverpool death pathway which is common practice now) Will anyone take this up or am I too to be censured and banned for daring to speak out of turn? I am not saying Brewer was right, just that we need to have that debate once and for all - and without the anti Brewer lobby. Free speech and democracy anyone?"

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  • John_Dee  |  July 12 2013, 9:51PM

    I struggle to see what Nimbyism has to do with this.....don't think any of the protesters were saying 'we love your ideas, Collin, just not here' And infanticide - 'slightly left of centre'? Really?

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  • Truro_England  |  July 12 2013, 10:09AM

    This is the state of the UK today which was once a kingdom for freedom of speech. Its now ran by left wing nimbies who run there lives telling other people how to lead there own and turning us into a nanny state! If your not in a union or have any slightly right of centre views, you get hounded out of your job and attacked by the same people who claim to bring peace and good will to all man kind.

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  • protesterball  |  July 11 2013, 3:59PM

    He has not been bullied out he has been found guilty and punishment has been laid down its his choice to have resigned he chouls have done what th3 council asked him to but he chose to go

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  • cornishandy  |  July 11 2013, 6:48AM

    Bullying elderly pensioners out of office is never acceptable behaviour under any circumstances.

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  • kerensaW  |  July 10 2013, 10:21PM

    Thankyou to everyone who supported this campaign - many disabled themselves, mothers / fathers of disabled children who simply speak for those who for whatever reason are unable to speak for themselves and all of those, simply standing for what they believe is right. The council said it themselves, he would have been suspended - as it is they conducted a thorough investigation, the results of which led to the report and Mr. Brewers resignation. As for hounding a stroke victim - Mr Brewer said himself in an interview that he had never had a 'sick day' during his time in council. He was well enough to stand again, as given the opportunity to carry out his role effectively and failed. What ever your opinion, Mr Brewer is gone! May he enjoy a healthy retirement and may Wadebridge East elect a councillor, finally who will do them proud x

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  • miniman1  |  July 10 2013, 9:22PM

    I think that what he said was disgusting, but I think its very dangerous to hound an elected person from his post. If he had said that he was pro hunting would it be acceptable for the anti-hunt brigade to hound him out? We have a democracy and this shouldn't be discarded whenever it suits us.

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  • Cheryll  |  July 10 2013, 6:53PM

    cornishandy - you need someone to speak on your behalf if you are a position where you are unable to speak for yourself. Some disabled people can not speak for or defend themselves.

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