COLLIN BREWER, the councillor who received global criticism for his comments about disabled children, has spoken of his months of “hell” after the outcry.
As TV cameras jostled for position to hear his thoughts following his successful re-election in the Wadebridge East seat today, he told of the abuse he has received over the last few months.
He was kicked out of the Independent Group at County Hall and subsequently resigned as a councillor in February after it was revealed that he said disabled children should be put down because they cost the authority too much.
But he said that he put himself forward for re-election because the people of Wadebridge wanted him to stand again.
And as Cornwall Council’s interim chief executive and returning officer Paul Masters read out the results, Mr Brewer looked on with a wry smile. He had scraped past Lib Dem Stephen Knightley, beating him by just four votes in one of the closest contests of the unitary authority election.
As he faced the cameras one member of the public couldn’t contain his anger, shouting “you’re a disgrace” and “shameful” as journalists scrambled to interview the 68-year-old.
But he said the victory meant he would be “able to stand upright in my town”.
When asked if he should have even put himself forward for election, he said: “I’ve done nothing wrong – I’ve apologised. The people in Wadebridge wanted me to stand and I’m proud to stand for them.
“Today is a very special day for me – not only have I been re-elected to Cornwall Council but it’s my birthday.”
Mr Brewer, who received 335 votes to Mr Knightley’s 331, added: “I had to resign at the time because of the media pressure but I felt it was right the people of Wadebridge should decide on my future and they have decided.”
He said his time away had been “hell” and said he had received torrents of abuse from telephone calls, emails and comments on social networking websites.
However, he said the media furore surrounding him may have actually helped him get re-elected.
“The media has actually done me the power of good – they have promoted me and I’m well known,” he said.
Rival candidates for the Wadebridge East seat were left angered by his election.
Labour candidate Adrian Jones, who got 161 votes, said he was concerned that Mr Brewer’s comments and the fiasco surrounding him had “stained the name of Wadebridge”.
"My biggest concern is that a group of us in the town are really trying to promote Wadebridge as a renewable, friendly, family town and this is a move in the wrong direction."
Sarah Maguire, the woman who led the campaign against him when what he had said emerged in February, came last out of six councillors.
She said: "Collin does have a good track record of serving Wadebridge. I expected I would do better. I am surprised - it doesn't reflect my experience on the doorsteps of Wadebridge."