General election 2019: Nick Conrad quits as Tory candidate over rape comments


Nick Conrad

Image caption

Nick Conrad resigned from the BBC in the run-up to the selection process in the Broadland constituency

Conservative election candidate Nick Conrad has said he is standing down over “ill-judged comments” he made on the radio about a rape case.

The former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter, 34, had been chosen as the party’s candidate for the Broadland seat.

He was criticised for saying in 2014 that women should “keep their knickers on” in an on-air discussion about rape.

Labour had said the comments showed he was not fit to be an MP and should be dropped as a candidate.

Following the revelations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Mr Conrad had apologised “long ago” but stressed the comments were “completely unacceptable”.

‘Affront to women’

During an on-air discussion in 2014, Mr Conrad said: “I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire. That when you’re in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity, there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body, there’s a huge amount of will and intent, and it’s very difficult for many men to say no.

“Women also have to understand that when a man’s given certain signals he’ll wish to act upon them and if you don’t wish to give out the wrong signals it’s best, probably, to keep your knickers on and not get into bed with him.”

He apologised for the comments at the time and no further action was taken by the radio industry watchdog.

In a statement released by the Conservative Party on Thursday, Mr Conrad said he had made a “genuine and heartfelt apology” for his “ill-judged comments”.

“However it has become clear to me that the media attention on my previous comments have become a distraction,” he said.

“For me, the most important thing is for the Conservative Party to be successful in the forthcoming election – getting Brexit done and delivering on the people’s priorities. 

“This is why I have reluctantly concluded I must stand down to allow one of the other excellent candidates the opportunity to win this fantastic seat.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, was among those to criticise Mr Conrad’s 2014 remarks, describing them as an “affront to women everywhere”.

The Tories have held the rural Norfolk seat of Broadland since it was created in 2010.

Keith Simpson, who has been the constituency’s only MP and had a 15,816 majority in 2017, is stepping down.

The prospective parliamentary candidates already chosen by their parties include:

  • Jessica Barnard (Labour)
  • Andrew Boswell (Green)
  • Ben Goodwin (Liberal Democrat)
  • Alex Hayes (Brexit Party)


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