Cornwall Council issues a statement on the comments made by Councillor Brewer

The party group leaders at Cornwall Council have released a joint statement in response to the recent comments (click here for them) made by Councillor Collin Brewer, as follows:

“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.”

Signed :
Jeremy Rowe, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, John Wood, Leader of the Independent group, Fiona Ferguson, Leader of the Conservative group, Malcolm Moyle, Leader of the Labour group, Stephanie McWilliam , Leader of UKIP group, Dick Cole, Leader of Mebyon Kernow

The Council further clarified:

Following the Government’s abolition of Standards for England in 2012 and changes to the Code of Conduct regime the options available to the Council when a breach of the Code of Conduct is found have been limited. There is no longer the ability to suspend Councillors. The Council has never been able to disqualify Councillors in response to Code of Conduct complaints. In this case the Monitoring Officer found that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct and determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction he could impose was to require Councillor Brewer to issue a formal apology. Mr Brewer was notified of this in November 2012 and subsequently wrote to the complainant apologising unreservedly for his remarks.

The Council does not have the power to stop anyone standing for election. Both the qualifications for candidates and the reasons why an individual could be disqualified from standing for election are clearly set out in legislation. The reasons for disqualification include being employed by the Council or holding a politically restricted post, being declared bankrupt or being sentenced to at least 3 months imprisonment during the previous 5 years. As none of the criteria for disqualification apply to Mr Brewer he was entitled to stand for election to Cornwall Council and was subsequently chosen by local voters to represent the Wadebridge East electoral division.

The Council is committed to ensuring that all staff and Members receive appropriate training in equality and diversity issues. Equality and diversity training is mandatory for all paid staff and we staged specific workshops for all Members during the first week of their induction programme. Further training, on-going workshops and awareness sessions will also be available throughout the four year life of this Council.

8 comments

  • Gill Martin

    Sounds fair enough to me.

  • Peter George

    It seems like a “get out” clause. Cornwall Council want to wash their hands, of the Colin Brewer controversy – typical political answer. The group party leaders state (above) that ” The recently published comments which are attributed to Councillor Colin Brewer are completely unacceptable and contrary to the Council`s policy of supporting people with disabilities. Such views have no place in local government “, yet they don`t seem to be doing anything about it. HIS VIEWS HAVE NO PLACE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT – SO GET RID OF HIM !!

  • Andrew Wallis

    Dear Peter,

    The point is the council doesn’t have the power to do that. Even if it wanted to.

  • Cassandra

    Collin Brewer has failed in his legal duty as a Councillor to uphold the tenets of the Human Rights and Equality Acts, plus the UN charter on the rights of disabled child. As such he has undoubtedly contravened the Members Code of Practice, (big time!). Give that the Council is not able to suspend or sack him, what is the severest penalty they can apply? Another apology? Can they really do nothing, given the obvious feeling of a large number of tweeting, blogging and face booking citizens?

  • Andrew Wallis

    I understand how you feel. Once you could have forgiven as people deserve a second chance (within reason) if there is a genuine mistake. And from that mistake you make amends.

    However, the second and in my opinion a far worse interview, he should stand-down. There is no other option. And I say this having seen the whole interview transcript which the journalist in question was kind enough to send me after I asked. It is not pleasant reading.

  • Gill Martin

    Mr Brewers comments affected me for personal family reasons, if it is evident that he still holds those views and that his original comment was not just a mistake by way of ill chosen words, and expressing himself incorrectly, followed by a genuine apology, then I believe he should resign. He clearly has not learnt anything.

    I would welcome a change in legislation to enable the council to remove a councillor from office, because at the present time the action that the council have taken is fair enough because they have done all is in their power to do.

    I would now hope that given the strength of public feeling, Mr Brewer will resign out of respect for public opinion.

  • Gill Martin

    As there is currently no legislation to allow the standards board to remove a councillor from office and the option to suspend a councillor had been withdrawn, presumably the only sanctions left to use are to instruct a councillor to apologize either verbally or in writing, however, if a councillor refuses or indeed does apologize and then just commits the same offence again, does this not rather render the standards board procedure pointless and in which case what is the use of the code of conduct. It would appear in my view Councillor Brewer is abusing the system.

  • Jeaan Scott-Barr

    I think it’s far more worrying that people voted him back in. What does that say about the voters?

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