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'Put down disabled children' councillor seeks re-election

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 06, 2013

Collin Brewer

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A former Cornwall councillor who resigned after saying disabled children should be "put down" is standing for re-election.

Collin Brewer, 68, stepped down as councillor for Wadebridge East in February amid a storm of criticism following the revelation that he had told a charity volunteer in 2011 that "disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down".

He was ejected from the independent group on the council but has signalled his intent to stand again for the elections on May 2 as a stand-alone candidate saying the move was a "response from the people" in his ward.

The decision has been criticised by disability campaigners, including Disability Cornwall, the charity to which the former councillor's comment was made two years ago.

Chairman Steve Paget said: "I am surprised, he had his shot and he went too far.

"It will now be up to the electorate to decide whether, despite his abhorrent comments, he should be re-elected."

The charity, which is based in Hayle, had an information stand at an event in October 2011 to allow councillors to meet equalities organisations and understand some of the issues they face.

Mr Brewer's comments came to light following a report by the council's independent standards committee, which ruled he should write an apology to the organisation.

But the 68-year-old, who labelled his comments "ill-judged" and "insensitive" and added that "they should not have been made at all", initially refused to stand down claiming he was "probably a little het up" after a long council meeting in which there had been some "difficult debates".

He said the comments were designed to "provoke a reaction" because he could see "they were trying to sell him something".

But despite his initial reluctance to stand down, Mr Brewer eventually bowed to public pressure.

He has now confirmed he will re-stand, saying he has a good record of service as a district, county and Cornwall councillor stretching back 25 years.

Nominations for the Cornwall Council elections closed yesterday at midday. A list of candidates has been published, and anyone willing to withdraw has until midday on April 10 to do so.

Mr Brewer won 44% of the votes for his Wadebridge East seat at the last Cornwall Council elections in 2009.

He is currently up against Conservative Brian Bennetts, UK Independence Party candidate Roderick Harrison, Adrian Jones for Labour, Liberal Democrat Steve Knightley, and another independent candidate Sarah Maguire.

As he was previously ejected, the independent group will have to decide whether to welcome Mr Brewer back if he is elected.

Group leader John Wood said it is up to constituents to choose who they want to represent them.

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  • danymous  |  April 09 2013, 11:30AM

    This man is not fit for public office. If he has a conscience that worked well enough to issue apologies, it should have worked well enough the prevent the original offence of remarking that "Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down." I doubt his apology is genuine. Such an obnoxious view comes from an utterly obnoxious man. He has no moral sense, and is a danger to the public. Was he reported to the police?