Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Disability storm councillor quits

Cornwall councillor Collin Brewer said his comments were a 'flippant remark' intended to 'provoke debate'

A councillor who said disabled children "should be put down" to save taxpayers' money has resigned, it has been reported.

Collin Brewer, an independent Cornwall councillor, said his remarks at an equalities event at County Hall in Truro 18 months ago were designed to "provoke a debate".

But the veteran council member has been met with a storm of criticism from disabled people, their carers and campaigners - including former glamour model Katie Price, whose son Harvey is disabled. Mr Brewer initially refused to resign, saying his comments were "a flippant remark".

But he has since reconsidered his position. Asked in an interview with BBC Radio Cornwall whether those offended by his comments would be pleased with his decision, Mr Brewer said: "I know they will be. This is my first indiscretion - not that there's any excuse for that."

He said he had received messages of support from at least half a dozen councillors who contacted him over his remarks. "They know this is against my character," he said. "I was wrong - I admit it. I will continue to apologise."

The complaint stems from an incident in Truro in October 2011, when Mr Brewer was talking to Theresa Court, advice services manager with Disability Cornwall. The matter has only recently been resolved by the standards board.

Mrs Court said: "I remember him (Mr Brewer) coming over and asking what the stall was about. I was explaining to him about the parent partnership service when he said disabled children should be put down.

"He said they cost the council too much money. I felt physically sick. I was there with parents of disabled children at the time and I just had to turn my back on him. He is supposed to be an elected member representing public views and acting on behalf of the public. How anyone can come out with that is just shocking."

The organisation welcomed the decision on Wednesday, thanking members of the public for uniting to support disabled people, particularly in the wake of Mr Brewer's comments being made public. The group also called on Cornwall Council to offer greater training for its members.

The level of public disgust in Mr Brewer's comments was such that a peaceful protest had been planned to take place near his home in Wadebridge, north Cornwall, on Saturday, calling for him to resign his seat on the authority.

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