Tory candidate who suggested women should ‘keep knickers on’ to avoid being raped will not stand in election

Former BBC host stands down after claiming women ‘partially responsible’ for rape if they give off wrong signals

Andy Gregory
Thursday 07 November 2019 23:11 GMT
Nick Conrad says women should 'keep their knickers on' while discussing the Ched Evans case

The Conservative candidate for Broadland has announced he is standing down over “ill-judged comments” during a radio discussion about a rape case.

Nick Conrad, who resigned from his role at BBC Radio Norfolk last week, was selected on Wednesday to contest Broadland for the Conservatives in the upcoming poll, the local association confirmed.

However, comments Mr Conrad made in a live discussion of the case of footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted of rape in 2011, have prompted outrage and he has now confirmed he will not be standing for election.

Speaking about the sexual assault case in 2014, two years before the case was overturned at a retrial, Mr Conrad suggested women should “keep their knickers on” to avoid being raped, and said: “I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire.

“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 when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm.

“It’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tail then don’t be surprised when it bites you.”

Mr Conrad said rape was “absolutely abhorrent” but added: “If you tease, if you jump into bed naked with a man, if you give him all the signals and then he acts upon them, then you are partially responsible.”

In a statement on Thursday night announcing his decision to stand down, he said: “Five years ago I made ill-judged comments during an on-air radio discussion for which I made a genuine and heartfelt apology.

“Last night I was honoured to be made the Conservative candidate for Broadland and had hoped to become the MP for a constituency which is close to my heart.

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

“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.”

The Broadland seat had previously been won for the Conservatives by Keith Simpson in 2017, by a margin of nearly 16,000 votes. He had been the constituency’s MP since 2010.

After Mr Conrad was chosen as his successor on Wednesday, Mr Simpson congratulated him as “an old friend and familiar from BBC Radio Norfolk – clever, charming and a One Nation Tory – bootiful!”

In response to the uproar over Mr Conrad’s comments, Boris Johnson said on Thursday: “Those comments are completely unacceptable, he has apologised long ago but I can’t stress [enough] that those comments are completely unacceptable.”

Mr Conrad’s statement comes a day after Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns stood down in the wake of revelations over his knowledge about the role of a Tory assembly candidate in the collapse of a rape trial.​

Additional reporting by PA

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