A councillor who said disabled children should be “put down” to save money was yesterday found guilty of serious misconduct – but remained in office.
Collin Brewer, 68, first caused outrage in February after telling a charity worker that disabled kids should be disposed of because they cost too much.
He later apologised and resigned but decided to stand again and won re-election to Cornwall’s Wadebridge East ward by just four votes in May’s local elections.
However, he was soon under formal investigation following a second outburst – this time telling a journalist “there may be a case” for “getting rid” of disabled kids in the same way farmers put down deformed livestock.
Cornwall Council’s Standards Committee received more than 180 complaints from outraged parents and disability groups and yesterday (Mon) concluded the “outrageous and grossly insensitive remarks” were a serious breach of conduct.
The committee does not have the power to suspend or dismiss members but hapless Brewer, an independent, was reportedly on the verge of stepping down again.
If he remains in office he faces having to formally apologise, undergo further training and would be banned from sitting on committees dealing with disabled children.
A council spokesman said: “The authority previously had the ability to suspend councillors following the investigation and determination of code of conduct complaints, however, following the government’s changes to the code of conduct complaints process, this sanction is no longer available.
“We recognise the strength of feeling on this sensitive issue and share the frustrations of members of the public over the limited sanctions at our disposal.”
Brewer’s first remarks about putting down the disabled were made at a Disability Cornwall forum set up in 2011 to promote a greater awareness of the issues facing parents and families.
After winning re-election he tried to confront and explain his remarks in an interview with Disability News Service – but went on to say there was little difference between putting down disabled kids and deformed animals.
The hapless local politician was quoted as saying: “If they [farmers] have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it. They get rid of it. Bang”.