Norfolk

Nick Conrad: Ex-BBC host in 'keep knickers on' row is Tory candidate

Nick Conrad, BBC Radio Norfolk
Image caption Nick Conrad recently left the BBC

A former BBC radio presenter who said women should "keep their knickers on" while debating a rape case is in the running to become a Conservative MP.

Nick Conrad, 34, who hosted BBC Radio Norfolk's breakfast show, has been selected as the party's parliamentary candidate for the Broadland seat.

He said he was "absolutely delighted" and offered a "genuine, heartfelt apology" for his comments in 2014.

Labour said he was not fit to be an MP and should be dropped as a candidate.

On Tuesday it was revealed that Mr Conrad had resigned from the BBC and on Wednesday evening he won the backing of the Broadland Conservative Association.

During an on air discussion in 2014, he said: "I think women need to be more aware of a man's sexual desire. That 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.

"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."

He apologised for the comments at the time and no further action was taken by the radio industry watchdog.

'Affront to women'

Angela Rayner, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, said: "These views should be consigned to the dustbin of history. They have no place in the 21st Century, let alone in Parliament.

"He is not fit to be an MP and it would be an affront to women everywhere if he were to become one."

The party's candidate for Broadland, Jessica Barnard, said on Twitter: "I will do all I can in this election to ensure you have an MP that will stand with you and support you should you be a victim of rape or sexual assault. We deserve so much better."

The constituency's Liberal Democrat candidate Ben Goodwin tweeted: "His comments were vile, and have no place in our society. It is far from what the people of Broadland deserve."

Speaking during a campaign visit to Scotland, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Mr Conrad had apologised "long ago" but stressed the comments were "completely unacceptable".

Image caption Nick Conrad presented the BBC Radio Norfolk breakfast programme for the past four years

Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press after his selection, Mr Conrad said: "I completely messed up. I knew I'd got it wrong and it didn't demonstrate the fact that I know that it's the most abhorrent crime.

"I've for many years broadcast very difficult subject matter and I was very disappointed in myself after the reaction flared up on the back end of those comments."

The Broadland constituency covers an area north of Norwich taking in part of The Broads. The Tories have held the seat since its creation in 2010.

Keith Simpson, who had a 15,816 majority in 2017, is stepping down after 22 years as an MP.

The prospective parliamentary candidates already chosen by their parties include:

  • Jessica Barnard (Labour)
  • Andrew Boswell (Green)
  • Ben Goodwin (Liberal Democrat)
  • Alex Hayes (Brexit Party)

More on this story