A Cornish councillor who said “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down” is refusing to resign.
Colin Brewer, the Independent for Wadebridge East in North Cornwall, made the comments to members of Hayle charity Disability Cornwall.
The ardent disability campaigners and the angry former salesman clashed as he left a ‘difficult debate’ and walked into an equalities fayre at Town Hall in October 2011.
Brewer says he was ‘het up’ after the long council meeting and only made the remarks to goad the woman who approached him because he was irritated she was ‘obviously trying to sell me something’.
The woman who put in the official complaint, and her MBE boss, say they expected Cllr Brewer to resign, rather than write a letter of apology, after they reported him to a standards watchdog.
Mr Brewer was forced to admit he said; ‘“Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.”
But he claims he was surprised his outrageous remark sparked not a combative reply, but an official complaint.
He told reporters: “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.”
Cllr Brewer is one of 32 council independents who make up just over 20 per-cent of the local authoritys politicians.
Disability Cornwall were at the fayre lobbying for their cause; they draw much of their funding from the council, but also get money from the Heritage Lottery, other charities, and financial organisations like Lloyds Bank.
You can see what they do and check out their politics HERE
Public opinion has settled firmly against Cllr Brewer.
Popular Cornish blogger An Helghyer stormed: “In my opinion he should be sacked, never mind resigning and also have a visit from the local Constabulary.
“This man is seemingly a ‘Class-A’ asshole and someone who most certainly, in 21st century Cornwall, should not be party to making any decsions that affect us at all.
“‘Colin Brewer, independent councillor for Wadebridge East’ – Remember that name if you live in that area come the May elections”
Disability Cornwall advice services manager Theresa Court made the official complaint against Cllr Brewer.
She told reporters; “As far as I was concerned I had a duty to make a formal complaint against Councillor Brewer to seek appropriate justice
“I was absolutely horrified anyone would make such a depraved comment, let alone a Cornwall councillor and at a public event.
The independent standards committee ordered Mr Brewer to write a letter of apology.
He wrote: “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.”
The chairman of Disability Cornwall Steve Paget MBE said he expected ‘no less’ than that the elected member for Wadebridge East should resign his post.
He commented: “It is of great concern to us that anyone with such beliefs could be a representative and elected member of our local authority, let alone vocalise such opinions.
“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.”
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