Cornwall councillor refuses to resign after saying all disabled children "should be put down"

This Is Cornwall | Tuesday, 26 February 2013 | Click here for original article

Colin Brewer
Colin Brewer

A Cornwall councillor has apologised but refused to resign after telling a disability charity that all disabled children "should be put down".

Colin Brewer, independent councillor Wadebridge East, made the comments to Disability Cornwall at County Hall when the group had an information stand at an event to allow councillors to meet equalities organisations and understand some of the issues they face.

At the event, which took place in October 2011, Mr Brewer approached the stand and was told how the group helps parents of children with special educational needs.

He responded by saying: "Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down."

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."

An investigation was launched and the independent standards committee ruled that Mr 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."

Chair of Disability Cornwall Steve Paget, MBE added: "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."

When the West Briton contacted Mr Brewer about whether he would resign he initially claimed that he could not recall the incident.

However when prompted he said that he was not aware that there had been calls for his resignation and indicated that he would not stand down.

He said: "I had come to their stall after a long council meeting and I was probably a little bit het up as we had had some difficult debates.

"I could see that they were trying to sell me something so I said something to them which I thought would provoke a reaction. But they turned their backs on me and I walked away – I thought that was the end of the matter until the complaint.

"I used to be a salesman and I said it to provoke them into a discussion – I expected them to parry it and talk to me.

"I didn't mean any offence and didn't want to upset anyone."


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