Theresa May defends Tory candidate who made 'shocking' comments about rape

The Prime Minister said Peter Cuthbertson's views had changed

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Thursday 01 June 2017 14:25
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Theresa May defends Tory candidate who made 'shocking' comments about rape

Theresa May has defended a Conservative parliamentary candidate who made "shocking" comments about rape and homosexuality.

Peter Cuthbertson, the Tory candidate for Darlington, had said a woman's "promiscuity" was relevant in determining whether she had consented to sex in rape cases.

At a press conference, the Prime Minister said: "Peter has made clear that his views have changed."

The 33-year old public affairs consultant made the comments, and others, in a series of blogposts in the early 2000s.

In another blog post on the Conservative Commentary website Mr Cuthbertson praised a “courageous priest jailed in Sweden for preaching against homosexuality”.

He also accused “left-wing students, pensioners, nurses, doctors, teachers, local council workers" of seeming to "conduct never-ending campaigns to seize more money from other people".

The blog posts were written when he was a university student aged between 18 and 20.

In her answer to the question, Ms May did not condemn the prospective MP, and instead laid out her record on domestic violence: “You reference my own position on some of these things: I have been very clear as home secretary over six years and continuing as Prime Minister, a number of issues that i’ve been addressing particularly around domestic violence.

“We’re seeing more people willing to come forward an report allegations of rape and we’re seeing more prosecutions for rape. I think we have seen a step change in the way the criminal justice system deals with these cases but we need to keep looking at this.

“That’s why we’ve announced that we will bring in a single piece of domestic violence legislation with a clear definition of domestic violence - so that we eradicate this abuse in our country.

“It’s not just abuse of women, of course, because domestic violence can take place against men as well and we should never forget that.”

Labour's election coordinator Andrew Gwynne told the Guardian newspaper, which first reported the comments, that they were “absolutely shocking”.

Mr Cuthbertson had told the newspaper that he “definitely does not have all the same views as my adolescent self”.

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