'It's time to move on from disabled row'
The councillor who has won a closely fought by-election to secure a seat vacated by his predecessor who supposedly compared disabled children to deformed lambs said he hopes to be able to "draw a line" under the episode.
Steve Knightley, who had lost the May elections to Collin Brewer by just four votes, claimed the Wadebridge East seat by nine on Thursday night. The current mayor of Wadebridge, Tony Rush, who stood as an independent candidate, came second with 399 votes.
The seat on Cornwall Council had been vacant ever since Mr Brewer stepped down in July.
Mr Knightley said he was delighted to have won. "It has been a lot of hard work," he said. "I lost the last election [in May] by four votes and that was disappointing.
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"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.
"I expected it to be close – in Cornwall there is strong tradition of supporting the independent candidate."
Speaking about Mr Brewer, he added: "It is time to draw a line under it; and it is important to respect the good work that Collin did as a councillor."
Mr Brewer, 69, resigned following a lengthy campaign by protesters after comments allegedly made in an interview with the Disability News Service in May.
It was the second time the stand-alone candidate had resigned after previously stepping down from the former council after it was revealed he said disabled children should be put down. Mr Brewer had been re-elected to the council in the local elections on May 2, but was later forced to step down after being found to be in breach of the council's code of conduct.