Councillor Collin Brewer's remarks were described as 'depraved' but he is refusing to quit
  • Cllr Collin Brewer refuses to quit and has apologised to Disability Cornwall
  • Told BBC radio that the timing wasn't good because of upcoming elections
  • Charity says his apology was an insult and he should quit his post
  • Defended himself by saying he was 'hot under the collar' after a meeting
  • Mr Brewer forced to write apology a year and a half after offensive remark
  • 97 per cent of people in local paper poll say Mr Brewer should resign
  • Katie Price tweeted 'How would you like to dispose of my son Harvey???'
  • Cornwall Council distanced itself from Mr Brewer's 'ignorant' comment
A councillor told a charity worker who helps youngsters with special needs that 'disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down'.

Collin Brewer, 68, an independent councillor at Cornwall Council, has refused to stand down after making the 'depraved' remark to the member of a charity during an information event.

What he said has received wide-spread condemnation including that of Katie Price whose son, Harvey, is severely disabled.

Mr Brewer admitted that he made the comment to 'provoke a reaction' and has now been forced to apologise in writing for the offensive remark.

However, he remains defiant and refuses to stand down saying: 'It is not something I would consider resigning over. I believe I am doing a good job.'

He said at his home yesterday: '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.

The comment was made to Theresa Court, advice services manager of Disability Cornwall which complained to the council's standards committee.

Ms Court said: 'I was absolutely horrified anyone would make such a depraved comment, let alone a Cornwall councillor 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.'

Her charity had a stand at an information event in Truro in October 2011. She was on hand to tell councillors about the issues they face and the work they do with parents of children with special needs.

Mr Brewer approached the stand, where there were parents of disabled children, and asked what the charity did. According to Ms Court he said that children with special needs cost too much money.

Fortunately, she added, none of the parents heard his comments.

She said: 'I couldn't believe it. It's taken a year and a half for him to be told that he has to write an apology. The apology was an insult.

'It came with a second class stamp and it was folded up into eight small bits. He might as well have screwed it up. I can't believe that the only thing he has had to to is write an apology.He needs to re-think his job.'

Her comments have been echoed by the readers of the Plymouth Herald, 97 per cent of whom say he should quit.

Trevor Doughty said: 'As director of children's services for Cornwall Council I am shocked and disappointed by the remarks made by Councillor Brewer.

'The comments were cruel and ignorant and are contrary to the Council's policy of supporting all people with disabilities.

'We are very proud of the disability services provided in Cornwall and wish to totally disassociate ourselves with these completely unacceptable views.'

Mr Brewer's apology letter in which he acknowledges his comments were 'ill-judged and insensitive'

Theresa Court, who Mr Brewer made the comment to, said she was unhappy with the apology which 'might as well have been screwed up' and came in an envelope with a second class stamp
And this afternoon Katie Price waded in on the row with a tweet referring to her disabled son, Harvey.

Mr Brewer told the newspaper: 'I had come to their stall after a long council meeting and I was probably a little bit het up as we had had some difficult debates.'

Steve Paget, chairman of Disability Cornwall, said: 'It is of great concern to us that anyone with such believes, let alone to vocalise them, could be a representative and elected member of our local authority.

'For such a serious issue and multiple breaches of conduct, bringing the council into disrepute, we did expect no less than this councillor's resignation.'

Mr Brewer, who has been a councillor for 25 years, tried to excuse his comments by saying he was 'hot under the collar' after a morning meeting about council cuts.

In that meeting he heard that some disabled children were being moved out of the county for care which was 'incurring additional expense'.

In a letter to the charity Mr Brewer said: 'I am writing to offer my wholehearted apologies for the offences 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.'

Councillor Jan Powell, a Liberal Democrat on Cornwall Council, 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.'

Mr 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 it to stimulate conversation but it was the wrong type of thing to say. It is not something I believe. I didn't get the reaction I wanted.

He added: 'We all make mistakes. I would have apologised there and then but I didn't get the chance.'