Tory candidate steps down after ‘ill-judged’ remarks on rape case

Mr Conrad said the criticism was a 'distraction'

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Conservative election candidate has announced that he will stand down after facing criticism for “ill-judged” comments he made while discussing a rape case in 2014.

Ex-BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad had been selected for the Broadland constituency, but was condemned by Boris Johnson for saying women should keep their "knickers on” to avoid being raped.

He said on-air: "What I'm trying to say is that 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. Does that make sense?".

His comments referred to ex-Sheffield United striker Ched Evans, who was released from prison after a rape conviction, which was later overturned on appeal.

Mr Johnson called the remarks "completely unacceptable", prompting Mr Conrad to quit the election race.

In a statement released by the Conservative Party, the candidate said he was stepping down because the negative attention surrounding his selection was becoming a “distraction”.

“Five years ago I made ill-judged comments during an on-air radio discussion for which I made a genuine and heartfelt apology," Mr Conrad said.

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

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has also seen a stream of election candidates step down over contentious comments.

Gideon Bull pulled out after being accused of calling a Jewish councillor "Shylock", a claim he denies.

Kate Ramsden was criticised for an old blog in which she said Israel was like an “abused child” who then goes on to commit abuse, but Labour said she had stepped down for "personal reasons".

The party also lost Frances Hoole following a controversial tweet that some considered a threat to opponent Joanna Cherry.

The candidate had shared a doctored picture of her and Ms Cherry featuring the words: “Bang and the Terf is gone”.

Terf stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, which is considered an insult to those who campaign for sex-based rights.

Another Labour candidate, Zarah Sultana, is under review by the party after she apologised for saying she would “celebrate” the deaths of world leaders in a 2015 social media post.

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