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Disability Rights: Councillor Collin Brewer To Be Investigated By Police After Comparing Disabled Children To Deformed Lambs

14/05/2013 14:15 BST | Updated 08/07/2013 14:30 BST

Police are to investigate Cornish councillor Collin Brewer after he compared disabled children to deformed lambs.

Collin Brewer, who was re-elected in April despite previously insisting disabled children "should be put down because they cost too much money" insisted again over the weekend that there may be a case for killing some disabled children with high support needs.

Speaking to Disability News Service, Collin Brewer said he was not the "ogre" he had been made out to be, adding that constituents in his rural ward had shaken his hand and congratulated him, despite his controversial comments.

Looking for analogies to support his view, Brewer compared disabled children to farmers' treatment of animals, telling the agency: “If they have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it. They get rid of it. Bang!”

He continued: "We are just animals. He [the farmer] obviously has got a point… You can’t have lambs running around with five legs and two heads.”

Brewer said: “It [the lamb] would be put down, smashed against the wall and be dealt with.”

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Mencap have started a campaign calling on the councillor to resign

He said the financial "burden" of the disabled wasn't just his own personal concern”, adding: “If you are talking about giving services to the community or services to the individual, the balance has got to be struck.”

Brewer said: “I keep as far away from health in the council as I can.”

However he sought to justify his original comments by saying that that had suffered a series of strokes before the incident, which might explain why he “flared up”. "People have said I have changed since those strokes,” he added.

Following outrage over his comments, Devon and Cornwall police released the following statement:

"We are aware of the update and people have contacted us. This matter has now been formally reported to Devon and Cornwall police.

"We will now look in to the comments made to see if an offence has been committed and will be contacting those who have reported this matter to us to update them."

Mencap said they were reluctant to give the man more publicity but said the huge number of people who had contacted them deserved a response.

Spokesperson Emma Harrison said:“We have been contacted by a huge number of people who share our disgust and who are asking us to take action.

“In an attempt to give him the opportunity to apologise, or correct these comments Mencap has tried, on a number of occasions, to contact Mr Brewer. We have had no success as we have been told he has been on sick leave and his email doesn't work.

“We have asked him what he means by these insulting, demeaning and disgusting comments, and whether he intends to meet local groups representing disabled people to reassure them.

“Mencap is reluctant to give him further publicity but we now join the thousands of people who have contributed to an online petition calling for his resignation, as soon as possible.”

A Cornish mother who is meeting Samantha Cameron on Tuesday as part of her disability campaigning says she will raise the issue with the Prime Minister's wife.

Hayley Goleniowska's daughter Natty has Down's Syndrome. She told local radio station Pirate FM: "A person in public office with a microphone, you can't say and think this way if you're a councillor or a teacher or a police officer, you simply can't.

"Disability groups and families such as ourselves are going to be putting Colin's every move under the microscope from hereon in and we will be looking to see if he's going to get involved in a positive way to work with disability groups and families."

The independent councillor for Wadebridge East made his original comments that "disabled children should be put down because they cost too much" to Theresa Court, who works for Disability Cornwall, while she was manning a stall at the County Hall in Truro in October 2011.

Despite facing calls to resign, he remained defiant over his right to remain in his councillor role and gained 335 votes in the last election, beating the Lib Dem candidate by two votes.

He wrote a letter of apology to Theresa Court and said at the time: "I have no intention of resigning. I don't think I have done anything wrong. I have apologised."

Theresa Court told the Huffington Post UK earlier this year it was "quite frankly an insult that he had to be told to apologise after a year and a half."

She said the manner in which the letter arrived was like he was making a stand, with "a second class stamp and folded into no less than eight pieces."

Disability Cornwall said after hearing the latest comments that they were "a sad indictment of our so-called ‘civilised’ society that disabled children are increasingly discussed within a context of affordability, as if they were goods on a shelf that can be picked up and discarded at will, dependent upon what’s in the public purse."

They added in a statement: “Colin Brewer and others, it would appear, believe a disabled child has the same value as a deformed lamb and should be dealt with in the same way.”

Mr Brewer has not responded to a HuffPost UK request for comment, but Cornwall council released the following statement:

“The recently published comments which are attributed to Councillor Brewer are completely unacceptable and are contrary to the Council’s policy of supporting all people with disabilities.

"Such views have no place in local government. These remarks represent the personal views of Councillor Brewer who does not speak for the Council or the people of Cornwall.”