Tory candidate’s rape views make him ‘unfit for office,’ says Labour

Shadow Cabinet Minister criticises Theresa May’s failure to condemn Peter Cuthbertson’s 'deplorable' views

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Jon Trickett, a shadow Cabinet Minister, has written to the Prime Minister urging her to replace a Conservative candidate who made controversial remarks about rape and homosexuality in blogposts.

In his letter, Mr Trickett condemned the views expressed by Peter Cuthbertson, 33, as “deplorable,” saying they clearly meant he was “unfit to run for public office”.

Mr Cuthbertson is standing for the Conservatives in Darlington, a key marginal seat currently held by Labour’s Jenny Chapman.

He published the posts on the Conservative Commentary blog in the early 2000s, when he was still a student.

In this post from 2002, unearthed by the Guardian, Cuthbertson argued that defendants in a rape case should be allowed to bring up the woman’s sexual history, or “promiscuity”, when determining consent.

“Of course, it is relevant how promiscuous a woman is in determining how likely it was she consented," he wrote.

“[...] As one obviously cannot get away with a rape by claiming one was drunk at the time, why should people who agreed to sex at the time be able to withdraw their consent retrospectively? 

“It is obvious that the inebriated will do silly and regrettable things, but if people are concerned about this, the sensible conclusion is not to drink excessively. To make criminals of those on the other side of drunken decisions is absurd.

“Should people who buy goods when drunk be able to return them without explanation when they sober up?

He later claimed “woman of low morals is more likely to consent to sex, and to lie”.


In 2004, he also praised a Swedish priest who was jailed for preaching against homosexuality, calling him “courageous”.

Ms May defended Mr Cuthbertson, stating: “Peter has made clear his views have changed. I have made my own position very clear on these issues as Home Secretary for six years and now Prime Minister.”

Mr Trickett attacked Ms May’s failure to condemn the views expressed, calling her weak and hypocritical.

He referenced a speech she made in 2005 clarifying that intolerant views would not be welcome in the Conservative Party. 

“Today, during your campaign visit to Teesside, you were challenged on those remarks and given the opportunity to condemn them. However, you failed to do so, sadly demonstrating the weakness that has characterised the Conservative party’s election campaign to date," Mr Trickett told the Prime Minister.

“I am now demanding that you follow up on your promise and deliver your message that such views have no place in politics and no place in today’s society.

“These are serious accusations which require action. It is not acceptable for the Conservative Party to continue to ignore them. The constituents of Darlington deserve better; they deserve the opportunity to select a candidate of integrity.”

However, Mr Cuthbertson has defended himself over the blogposts, saying he “definitely does not have all the same views as my adolescent self”.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, he said: “I made those comments on a blog as a teenager.

“The Conservative Party has changed a lot since I was a Darlington teenager in 2002, and so have I.”