Conservative election candidate forced to quit after row over rape comments

Posted On: 
8th November 2019

A Conservative general election candidate has been forced to stand down after just 24 hours over comments he made in the past about rape.

Nick Conrad had only been selected as a candidate ealier this week.
Credit: 
PA Images

Radio show host Nick Conrad had said women should "keep their knickers on" to avoid being attacked.

Mr Conrad made the comment during an on-air during a discussions about footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted and later cleared of a rape charge.

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He stepped down as host of the breakfast show on BBC Radio Norfolk when he was chosen to stand in Broadland on 12 December.

But he has not been forced to quit as the Tory candidate following a furious row over his previous remarks.

In a statement issued late on Thursday night, 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.  

"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.

"I would like to thank Broadland Conservative Association for their support and wish the party every success in the election on December 12."

Responding for Labour, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "Nick Conrad has finally resigned as a Conservative candidate but the fact that he was chosen in the first place and the fact that Boris Johnson stood by him is further proof that the party is infected with sexism from top to bottom.

"Nick Conrad's views should be consigned to the dustbin of history. They have no place in the 21st century, let alone in Parliament.

"Boris Johnson's defence of Nick Conrad came as no surprise. Johnson himself wrote that the way to deal with advice from a female colleague was to ‘just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way’, he has been accused of squeezing the thigh of a young journalist at a work lunch and he abstained on a vote to extend abortion rights to women in Northern Ireland.

"As long as Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, we risk losing the hard-won rights that women before us gave up their lives and liberty to attain."