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'Put down disabled children' councillor Collin Brewer resigns

By Emcfarnon  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

Collin Brewer

Collin Brewer has stood down after coming under fire from locals, fellow councillors and Katie Price

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A councillor who suggested all disabled children should be put down because they cost the council too much money has resigned.

Collin Brewer, Independent councillor for Wadebridge East in Cornwall, stepped down after coming under a torrent of criticism over his remarks.

The councillor told a volunteer from the Disability Cornwall charity in 2011: "Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down."

He made the comment at an event hosted to allow councillors to meet equalities organisations and better understand the issues they face. The Hayle-based charity had a stand at the event.

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Disability Cornwall advice services manager Theresa Court said: "I was absolutely horrified anyone would make such a depraved comment, let alone a Cornwall councillor and at a public event.

"As far as I was concerned I had a duty to make a formal complaint against Councillor Brewer to seek appropriate justice."

Meanwhile Steve Paget MBE, Chair of Disability Cornwall, said: "It is of great concern to us that anyone with such beliefs, let alone to vocalise them, could be a representative and elected member of our local authority.

“For such a serious issue and multiple breach of code of conduct, bringing the council into disrepute, we did expect no less than this councillor's resignation.”

On Tuesday Liberal Democrat Councillor Jan Powell, whose daughter is disabled, backed the call: "I'm shocked, I can't believe that a councillor could even contemplate saying something like that even to stimulate debate,” she said.

“For me it is a resignation issue."

More than 2,800 people voted in a poll on thisiscornwall.co.uk, with 95 per cent calling for the resignation of the councillor.

A Cornwall mother of a disabled girl said she would fight to stop Brewer from being re-elected as a councillor in May, while Katie Price, also known as Jordan, slammed the councillor’s comments.

The celebrity, whose son Harvey is autistic and has septo-optic dysplasia, tweeted:

An investigation was launched and the independent standards committee ruled Brewer should write a letter of apology to the organisation.

His letter read: "I am writing to offer my whole hearted apology for the offence these remarks have clearly caused. While I meant no offence by my remarks to you I can see, in retrospect, that they were ill judged and insensitive and should not have been made at all."

Brewer was also removed from his political group at County Hall.

Cllr Brewer yesterday went on BBC Radio Cornwall to discuss the row over his comments. He said: "I was wrong, I admit it. I will continue to apologise.

“This is my first indiscretion, not that there is any excuse for that and most are sympathetic to me, those that I've spoken to."

Earlier this week Brewer, who has been a councillor for more than 25 years, told the Western Morning News he believed the incident happened after a long council meeting regarding budgets.

He recalled the conversation happened at a time when some disabled children were being moved out of county for care which was "incurring additional expense".

While admitting using the language, he stressed it was not something he believed but was said to "stimulate" a debate.

Disability Cornwall yesterday urged calm over the issue, asking those angered by Brewer’s comments not to engage in a "hate campaign" against the independent councillor.

In a statement, Disability Cornwall said: "Thank you to everybody for the support we have received, but we have concerns some people are either calling Councillor Brewer's home telephone number or even visiting his house in connection with the comments he made regarding disabled children.

“Please do not do either as it doesn't achieve anything and would make it seem like a hate campaign.

"If you would like to make your views known then please contact Cornwall Council."

Brewer decided overnight to step down from the council, but said he would not rule out standing again at the next elections in May if he had the support of his constituents.

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