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

Learning disability charity calls for Collin Brewer to resign after comments

colinbrewerLearning disability charity Mencap has called for Cornwall Councillor Collin Brewer (pictured) to resign after he likened disabled children to deformed lambs who would be “smashed against a wall”.

This call was made after Brewer said, in an interview with the Disability News Service, 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. 

“Disabled children should be put down”
Brewer also alleged that he had spoken to other people and found some support for his opinion.

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 at www.learningdisabilitytoday.co.uk/put_disabled_children_down_remark_councillor_resigns.aspx]. 

Protest at re-election
However, at the recent local elections, Brewer was re-elected to the council as an independent, with a majority of 4. On polling day, about 70 people staged a protest at Truro Town Hall against his re-election.

Cllr Brewer is currently on sick leave from his council duties.
Outrage at comments
Mencap has expressed its outrage Brewer’s latest comments, and has called for him to resign again. “We have been contacted by a number of people who share our disgust and who are asking us to take action,” said Mencap spokesperson Emma Harrison.

“In an attempt to give him the opportunity to apologise, or correct these comments Mencap has tried, on a number of occasions, to contact Mr Brewer. We have had no success as we have been told he has been on sick leave and his email doesn’t work. We have asked him what he means by these insulting, demeaning and disgusting comments, and whether he intends to meet local groups representing disabled people to reassure them.

“Mencap is reluctant to give him further publicity but we now join the thousands of people who have contributed to an online petition calling for his resignation, as soon as possible.”  

Utterly compemptible comments
Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, added that Brewer’s comments were “utterly contemptible and have no place in 21st century Britain.
“The scale of disability hate crime, bullying and harassment that is reported to us is sobering and worrying. How can we ever expect to eradicate this from society if elected officials express repugnant views like those that Councillor Brewer reportedly did?
“Elected officials should set an example in terms of behaviour, outlook and attitude to some of society’s most vulnerable people. In this regard, Councillor Brewer has seemingly fallen far short of the role that he was elected for.”

‘No place in local government’
Cornwall Council has released a statement signed by all the party group leaders distancing the council from Brewer’s comments: “The recently published comments which are attributed to Councillor Brewer are completely unacceptable and are contrary to the Council’s policy of supporting all people with disabilities.
“Such views have no place in local government. These remarks represent the personal views of Councillor Brewer who does not speak for the Council or the people of Cornwall.”

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