A councillor apologised today after telling a disability charity – ”disabled children should be put down”.
Cllr Colin Brewer, 68, said youngsters with disabilities cost too much and are a financial drain on society – and don’t deserve to live.
The long-serving independent councillor on Cornwall Council made his bizarre comments to a Disability Cornwall stall at an information event.
Charity member Theresa Court had just explained how the group helps parents of children with special educational needs.
But Cllr Brewer responded by saying: “Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down”.
Mrs Court said the “depraved” comment left her feeling “absolutely horrified” and the charity complained to the Standards Committee.
Brewer, who represents Wadebridge East, said he made his comments because he was “hot under the collar” following a long meeting and was trying to “provoke a reaction”.
The committee has now told Cllr Brewer, a councillor for 25 years, to apologise and he has written a grovelling letter to say sorry.
But despite admitting the comments the charity has been left “shocked” after he refused to stand down.
Speaking from home yesterday, Cllr Brewer said: “We had had a difficult morning deciding on budget and job cuts.
“I listened to one of the ladies on the Disability Cornwall stall and came out with the comment. If only I had not said that.
“I didn’t mean it. I did it to provoke a response and debate the issue of service costs provision.
“It backfired. I was treating her with a lack of respect and I shouldn’t have done it. I meant no offence. I would defend disabled children to the last.
“I said something which was offensive and I have apologised. I never ought to have said it. I said it to stimulate conversation, if you will, but it was the wrong type of thing to say.
“It is not something I believe. I didn’t get the reaction I wanted. It is not the type of thing you want to hear from a councillor.
“We all make mistakes. I would have apologised there and then but I didn’t get the chance.
“It is not something I would consider resigning over. I believe I am doing a good job.”
Cllr Brewer made his comments to Theresa, Disability Cornwall advice services manager, at the event in Truro in October 2011.
The Hayle-based charity had an information stand to allow councillors to meet equalities organisations and understand some of the issues they face.
She said: “I was absolutely horrified anyone would make such a depraved comment, let alone a Cornwall councillor and at a public event.
“As far as I was concerned, I had a duty to make a formal complaint against Councillor Brewer to seek appropriate justice.”
His letter of apology read: “I am writing to offer my wholehearted apology for the offence these remarks have clearly caused.
“While I meant no offence by my remarks to you I can see, in retrospect, that they were ill-judged and insensitive and should not have been made at all.”
But Steve Paget, chair of Disability Cornwall, said the apology wasn’t enough and called for his resignation.
He said: “It is of great concern to us that anyone with such beliefs, let alone to vocalise them, could be a representative and elected member of our local authority.
“For such a serious issue and multiple breaches the code of conduct, bringing the council into disrepute, we did expect no less than this councillor’s resignation be called for.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Jan Powell, whose daughter is disabled, said: “I’m shocked.
“I can’t believe that a councillor could even contemplate saying something like that even to stimulate debate. For me it is a resignation issue.”