A councillor who said that disabled children cost too much money and “should be put down” has resigned from his seat after a poll on his local newspaper website found 95pc of people wanted him gone.
Cornwall councillor Colin Brewer, an independent candidate for the Wadebridge East area, made the comments to a representative of Disability Cornwall in 2011.
The story initially broke on thisiscornwall.co.uk – which carries stories from the Western Morning News, the West Briton, the Cornish Guardian, and The Cornishman – after the charity revealed that investigation by the independent standards committee ruled he should write a formal letter of apology to them.
The story swiftly went national and sparked a storm of controversy across the globe. Even glamour model Katie Price – aka Jordan – got involved, taking to Twitter to demand to know whether Mr Brewer thought she should “dispose” of her son Harvey.
A poll launched on thisiscornwall attracted more than 2,800 votes – 95pc of which called for the resignation of the councillor.
He announced his resignation yesterday, just 48 hours after the story broke.
Editor of the West Briton, Richard Best, said the newsdesk had been shocked when they received notification from the charity.
“We just couldn’t believe he had actually said that – it was a stupid thing for any politician to do,” he said.
“After we broke the original story, the poll was just one of the ways we tried to keep developing the story and keep it alive.
“I’m not surprised it got such a strong response – it’s unthinkable really that anyone would say something so outrageous and so extreme, especially someone in that position.”
Mr Brewer appeared on local radio to try to calm the backlash, and in an interview with the Western Morning News said he believed the incident happened after a long council meeting regarding budgets.
He told the paper that the conversation happened at a time when some disabled children were being moved out of county for care which was “incurring additional expense “.
While admitting using the language, he claimed it was not something he actually believed but that he simply said it to “stimulate” a debate.
News editor Jeff Reines said after the first story went up, he kept an eye on developments throughout the evening.
“I was Googleing his name over and over, and you could almost see the story spreading across the globe,” he said.
“When stories started appearing talking about ‘a councillor in England’ I could tell how big it had become.”
Mr Brewer’s letter to the charity read: “I am writing to offer my whole hearted 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.”