Disability row councillor Colin Brewer finally resigns, again: UPDATE

First published in Cornwall
Last updated

UPDATE: The councillor that found himself at the centre of not one, but two media storms over “outrageous and grossly insensitive' statements about disabled children has finally resigned.

Cornwall Council has today received a letter from Collin Brewer confirming that he has 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.

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

 

 

UPDATE: According to one councillor, Andrew Wallis, "subject to the paperwork", Mr Brewer intends to resign. Cornwall Council has yet to receive a written resignation from Mr Brewer, however the council's leader has also said he was going to resign.

Cornwall Council has found that “outrageous and grossly insensitive remarks” made by councillor Collin Brewer were a serious breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct, however it is powerless to suspend him.

The decision notice follows a formal investigation carried out by Cornwall Council into comments made by Councillor Collin Brewer during an interview with the Disability News Network.

It has condemned his remarks as both outrageous and grossly insensitive and entirely inconsistent with the standards expected of a Cornwall Councillor.

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

A senior lawyer was appointed by the Council’s Monitoring Officer to carry out the investigation after the authority received more than 180 complaints about the comments from members of the public and disability groups.  

The report setting out the findings of the investigation was considered by the Council’s Standards Committee at the end of June.  The members of the Committee then gave their views to the Monitoring Officer to help inform his final determination of the complaints.

Although Councillor Brewer has been found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct, the Council does not have the legal power to remove him from his position as a Councillor.  

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.

Given the seriousness of the breach the Monitoring Officer has imposed the highest level of sanctions currently available to the Council. 

These include formally censuring councillor Brewer for the outrageous and grossly insensitive remarks he made in the telephone conversation with John Pring on May 8 and directing him to make a formal apology for the gross offensiveness of his comments and the significant distress they caused.

Following the publication of the original article on the Disability News Network website in May the Leaders of all the political groups on the Council issued a statement condemning Councillor Brewer’s remarks as completely unacceptable and contrary to the Council’s policy of supporting all people with disabilities.

A council spokesman said: "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.  The Monitoring Officer has made it clear that if the powers had still been available to the Council he would have either recommended that Councillor Brewer be suspended or referred the matter to the First Tier Tribunal who would have had wider powers of sanction available to them. 

Richard Williams, head of legal, democratic and procurement services and monitoring officer for Cornwall Council said: "Whilst those are extremely serious measures, in exceptional cases, such measures are justified and there is no doubt that the absence of those powers has been a source of frustration to the Standards Committee and a source of disbelief to many of those who have complained and the wider public."

"This view is supported by members of the Council’s Standards Committee who are recommending that the Council writes to the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Committee for Standards in Public Life expressing the Council’s concern over the removal of the authority’s power to impose meaningful sanctions in response to breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct.  

The decision added that such comments are "entirely inconsistent with the standards expected of a Cornwall councillor and have brought the council and the office of a Cornwall councillor into disrepute and have caused damage to the reputation of Cornwall itself".

Councillor Brewer is to make a formal apology "as to the gross offensiveness of his comments and for the significant distress they have caused".

Training will be arranged for Mr Brewer on the Code of Conduct and in dealing with the media.

While Mr Brewer remains a member of Cornwall Council he should not be allocated a seat on any of the Council’s Committees that deal or might deal with issues relating to disabled children or other vulnerable members of the community.

Mr Brewer should not be nominated as the Council’s representative to any outside bodies that are involved in the provision of services or support to disabled children or other vulnerable members of the community, either as their principal purpose or as part of their routine business.

Councillor Brewer will not have access to those parts of council premises from where services to disabled children are directly provided, managed or commissioned.

 

Comments (14)

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3:51pm Mon 8 Jul 13

KernBear says...

So, what did Cnr Brewer say?
So, what did Cnr Brewer say? KernBear
  • Score: 0

3:54pm Mon 8 Jul 13

KernBear says...

Cnr... I mean Cllr.. its one of those days!!
Cnr... I mean Cllr.. its one of those days!! KernBear
  • Score: 0

4:37pm Mon 8 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

If Councillor Colin Brewer has/does resign, I would be interested if the Packet could ascertain some opinions from those who voted for him when he was re elected.
If Councillor Colin Brewer has/does resign, I would be interested if the Packet could ascertain some opinions from those who voted for him when he was re elected. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

4:53pm Mon 8 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

One thing that has intrigued me throughout this whole saga, is, as the comments were made a long time ago, why did it take so long for some other Councillors to publicly express their disapproval of Councillor Colin Brewers comments? Why did no one mention it at the time?
One thing that has intrigued me throughout this whole saga, is, as the comments were made a long time ago, why did it take so long for some other Councillors to publicly express their disapproval of Councillor Colin Brewers comments? Why did no one mention it at the time? Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Mon 8 Jul 13

KernBear says...

Gillian Zella Martin 09 wrote:
One thing that has intrigued me throughout this whole saga, is, as the comments were made a long time ago, why did it take so long for some other Councillors to publicly express their disapproval of Councillor Colin Brewers comments? Why did no one mention it at the time?
GZM, what did he say?
[quote][p][bold]Gillian Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: One thing that has intrigued me throughout this whole saga, is, as the comments were made a long time ago, why did it take so long for some other Councillors to publicly express their disapproval of Councillor Colin Brewers comments? Why did no one mention it at the time?[/p][/quote]GZM, what did he say? KernBear
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Mon 8 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject.
Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Mon 8 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

The article now says:-

"however, the councils leader has now also said he was going to resign"

Does this mean the leader of the council is going to resign, or does it mean he is confirming what Councillor Andrew Wallis has said about Councillor Colin Brewer resigning?
The article now says:- "however, the councils leader has now also said he was going to resign" Does this mean the leader of the council is going to resign, or does it mean he is confirming what Councillor Andrew Wallis has said about Councillor Colin Brewer resigning? Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

11:51am Wed 10 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Well that's that then.
Well that's that then. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Wed 10 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Tyrone Shulace wrote:
The bloke is a prat, and once again the news came from Cllr Wallis I see about Brewer resigning, another publicity seeker, typical Helston councillor.
Councillor Andrew Wallis is not a publicity seeker, neither are any of the Helston Town or Cornwall Councillors.
[quote][p][bold]Tyrone Shulace[/bold] wrote: The bloke is a prat, and once again the news came from Cllr Wallis I see about Brewer resigning, another publicity seeker, typical Helston councillor.[/p][/quote]Councillor Andrew Wallis is not a publicity seeker, neither are any of the Helston Town or Cornwall Councillors. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

1:18pm Thu 11 Jul 13

MARTIN GILL says...

Gillian Zella Martin 09 wrote:
Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject.
Gillian, i feel that in the light of his previous comments, he should not have had the chance to stand as a candidate in the recent local elections. I wonder what those people who voted for him are thinking now?
[quote][p][bold]Gillian Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject.[/p][/quote]Gillian, i feel that in the light of his previous comments, he should not have had the chance to stand as a candidate in the recent local elections. I wonder what those people who voted for him are thinking now? MARTIN GILL
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Thu 11 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

MARTIN GILL wrote:
Gillian Zella Martin 09 wrote:
Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject.
Gillian, i feel that in the light of his previous comments, he should not have had the chance to stand as a candidate in the recent local elections. I wonder what those people who voted for him are thinking now?
I agree, however, there are very few restrictions on the eligibility to stand for councillor, as far as I remember one is, if someone has been in prison within the last five years, bankruptcy, employee of a council, surcharged, corrupt or illegal practices, and something about teachers.
Perhaps the criteria for eligibility should be accompanied by CRB checks and training given.

I would be interested in the views now of those that voted for Mr Brewer the second time round. Whilst I do not bear grudges and accept apologies, I do not agree with someone like Mr Brewer repeat offending in a position of office, by holding and expressing totally unacceptable views such as he did.
[quote][p][bold]MARTIN GILL[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gillian Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: Enter " put disabled children down councillor" into the search box for the Packet archives and it will bring up all the articles on the subject.[/p][/quote]Gillian, i feel that in the light of his previous comments, he should not have had the chance to stand as a candidate in the recent local elections. I wonder what those people who voted for him are thinking now?[/p][/quote]I agree, however, there are very few restrictions on the eligibility to stand for councillor, as far as I remember one is, if someone has been in prison within the last five years, bankruptcy, employee of a council, surcharged, corrupt or illegal practices, and something about teachers. Perhaps the criteria for eligibility should be accompanied by CRB checks and training given. I would be interested in the views now of those that voted for Mr Brewer the second time round. Whilst I do not bear grudges and accept apologies, I do not agree with someone like Mr Brewer repeat offending in a position of office, by holding and expressing totally unacceptable views such as he did. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Thu 11 Jul 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Previous post should have said ' one is not allowed to stand'
Previous post should have said ' one is not allowed to stand' Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Thu 11 Jul 13

meerkats says...

Tyrone Shulace wrote:
The bloke is a prat, and once again the news came from Cllr Wallis I see about Brewer resigning, another publicity seeker, typical Helston councillor.
Does it really matter where the news came from ? I dont agree that Cllr Wallis is a publicity seeker or that any Helston councillors could be called that actually. You certainly seem to have a problem with Cllr Wallis and the TC in general.
[quote][p][bold]Tyrone Shulace[/bold] wrote: The bloke is a prat, and once again the news came from Cllr Wallis I see about Brewer resigning, another publicity seeker, typical Helston councillor.[/p][/quote]Does it really matter where the news came from ? I dont agree that Cllr Wallis is a publicity seeker or that any Helston councillors could be called that actually. You certainly seem to have a problem with Cllr Wallis and the TC in general. meerkats
  • Score: 0

7:44am Sun 14 Jul 13

juwhite says...

So since he has been elected the second time I believe Cllr Brewer has been on sick leave so he hasn't actually helped anybody who did vote for him. Now money has to be wasted on another second election. It would be interesting to see what the people who voted for him think and why they did vote for him.
So since he has been elected the second time I believe Cllr Brewer has been on sick leave so he hasn't actually helped anybody who did vote for him. Now money has to be wasted on another second election. It would be interesting to see what the people who voted for him think and why they did vote for him. juwhite
  • Score: 0

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