Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Disability row councillor Collin Brewer resigns again

brewerCollin Brewer, the Cornwall councillor who said that disabled children “should be put down”, has resigned from the council again.

Brewer’s resignation comes after he was formally censured earlier in the week by Cornwall Council over “grossly offensive” comments he made in an interview with the Disability News Service in May where he likened disabled children to deformed lambs who would be “smashed against a wall”.

In the interview, he added that there “may be a case” for treating disabled children with high support needs like sick animals in a bid to keep down the cost of caring for them.

However, after an investigation Cornwall Council condemned his remarks as “outrageous and grossly insensitive and entirely inconsistent with the standards expected of a Cornwall Councillor.”

The Council’s Monitoring Officer concluded that the comments constituted a serious breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

A brief statement by Cornwall Council confirmed that it had received a letter from Brewer confirming that he had formally resigned as the member for the Wadebridge East electoral division.  “The resignation takes effect from Wednesday, 10 July, the date the written confirmation was received by the Council’s Monitoring Officer,” it said.

“The Council’s electoral service will now be making arrangements for a by election to be held.”

Second resignation
This is the second time Brewer has resigned from Cornwall Council over remarks he has made about disabled children.

In February, it emerged that in October 2011 Brewer had remarked to a member of staff at Disability Cornwall that disabled children should be put down because they cost too much money. This led to him apologising and resigning from the council (full story here).

However, at the local elections in May, Brewer was re-elected to the council as an independent, with a majority of 4.

As of this morning [July 11], Brewer has been unavailable for comment.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, welcomed Brewer’s decision: “The Councillor’s ill-judged and insensitive comments on disabled children demonstrated that he was clearly not fit for office. The council is right to find him guilty. We believe he has made the right decision in stepping down.

“Luckily such sickening views are rare. But almost a year on from the Paralympics disabled people tell us that public attitudes towards them remain an issue. Disabled people are concerned about the impact of scrounger rhetoric. We need to re-open the debate on attitudes to disability.”

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