New man's plea after he replaces Collin Brewer
STEPHEN Knightley, the man elected to replace controversial former councillor Collin Brewer, has said it is time to "draw a line" under the issue and for Wadebridge to move forward.
Liberal Democrat Mr Knightley was elected as Cornwall councillor for Wadebridge East ward, winning by just nine votes in a by-election last Thursday.
He fills the gap left by Mr Brewer, who stood down in July for the second time over controversial remarks he made about disabled children.
Opposition candidates said in May they feared the name of Wadebridge had been tarnished because of Mr Brewer's comments but Mr Knightley told the Cornish Guardian it was time to move on.
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"I think it is time to draw a line under it," said the 63-year-old, who runs an architecture firm with son Max.
"He made some comments that were inappropriate that I, and many others, didn't agree with.
"It is sad that his time as Cornwall councillor will be forever remembered for those comments and not the good work he did.
"I think it is time to draw a line under it; Collin did some good work as a councillor and needs to be able to walk around this town."
It emerged in February this year that 68-year-old Mr Brewer, then an independent councillor, told a charity worker that disabled children cost the council too much money and "should be put down". He apologised, saying his remarks had been intended to stir up debate but eventually resigned his seat.
However, he then stood as a candidate in the local elections in May, beating Mr Knightley by four votes.
Just weeks after this election he gave an interview to the Disability News Service where he compared disabled children to deformed lambs.
A report from Cornwall Council's monitoring officer found he had breached the councillors' code of conduct and following further pressure he eventually stood down.
Mr Knightley said that he was "delighted" to have won the by-election, beating town mayor Tony Rush by nine votes.
"It comes with a real sense of responsibility; Wadebridge (East) has not had a Cornwall councillor since February. Things haven't been taken forward and it has sort of been neglected."
He said he had expected the vote to be close.
"Tony Rush is the mayor; he has a profile in the town and is well known.
"He was my deputy when I was mayor. This was the fourth election where we have stood against each other; and I am winning 3-1," he joked. "I know Tony well and get on with him. I said in my acceptance speech that all the candidates would have made good councillors." The election turnout was more than 40 per cent.