Colin Brewer - Local Councillor
I know that it's not a Sunday, but if any of you have seen me chatting on twitter (@arcticride2014) or read my previous blog post, you will be aware that I have been looking into a situation which has caused outrage in Cornwall. Now, I know that some of you are probably thinking.. 'but you don't live in Cornwall', but this is something which affects any family that has a sibling or child with special needs or in fact anyone who has a heart!
The facts - According to press, an independent councillor by the name of Colin Brewer said to Theresa Court, a lady who works for Disability Cornwall, whilst manning a stall at the County Hall in Truro in October 2011 and I quote:
"disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down"
This is a disgusting comment which was said with disabled children and their families within earshot. He was the elected local councillor at the time and in charge of budgets, including those that affect disabled children.
Theresa made a complaint and Brewer was ordered to write an apology. He obliged, a year and a half after the incident and sent it second class and folded into 8 pieces.
If you would like to read more about this and what Theresa said about the incident please click on the link below:
It appears that Brewer resigned around late February 2013 after this incident was highly publicised. So, you may wonder why I am talking about this now..
Well... he stood again for election on May 2nd 2013 and was once again elected as local councillor. I understand that this was by 4 votes! Since this date, there has been an e-petition set up https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46463 Please all sign this.
There was a peaceful protest at the Council buildings today (8th May 2013) with what looked like a good turnout and the Council had arranged a meeting with Brewer for today. However, he is now on the sick and so did not attend this meeting.
I feel that the right thing for him to do would be to resign and not be allowed to stand for public election in the future.
I cannot put into words how this comment has left me feeling. My little brother is not a drain on funding. My mum and our family cares for him. He does not use respite, carers or have any particular help from social services and yet Brewer would have had him 'put down.' Families who do need help should be entitled to it and maybe people like Brewer should walk a day in the shoes of families and carers before making such comments. He does not appreciate how much time and energy is taken up in caring for vulnerable children and ensuring that their needs are met.
I feel that we need to stick up for children like my little brother and the thousands or millions of other children and adults with special needs as they may not all have their own voice. We live in a country that protects its citizens through the Human Rights Act and I feel that this is not being respected by allowing him to continue to remain as a councillor.
As well as signing the e-petition I would welcome others views on this and any suggestions of what can be done in a peaceful and legal way. I will be writing to Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People to ask for her support. I appreciate that others may have already done this but I figure that another letter may assist. :)
I will keep you all up to date with things and matters as they progress.
Gordon and Kirsty (my wife)
(my wife helped with the research and writing of this article and I appreciate her help)