Conservatives choose MP candidate who said women should 'keep their knickers on' to avoid rape

Posted On: 
7th November 2019

The Conservatives have selected an MP candidate who said women should "keep their knickers on" to avoid being raped.

The Conservatives have come under fire for the appointment of Nick Conrad
Credit: 
PA

Nick Conrad was chosen by the party to contest the Broadland constituency in the upcoming 12 December poll despite making a series of incendiary remarks during a radio debate about rape.

Mr Conrad, who stepped down as a presenter on BBC Norfolk last week, will take over as Conservative candidate from retiring MP Keith Simpson, who has comfortably held the seat for the party since it was created in 2010.

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But the selection has provoked fury after a series of on-air remarks made during a discussion about footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted and later cleared of a rape charge, came to light.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Conrad said: “It’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tale then don’t be surprised when it bites you.”

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

He added: “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?”

Mr Conrad apologised for the “ill-advised” remarks following the debate, and watchdog Ofcom decided not to take any action against him.

But the selection has angered opposition figures, including Labour's Jess Philips, who said: "It's best to keep your knickers on to avoid rape according to this dude.

"I find it's best avoided by never coming in to contact with misogynistic men who have no understanding of consent."

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said the Conservatives should drop Mr Conrad as a candidate “immediately”.

"Nick Conrad’s despicable comments blaming the victims of rape, saying they should have kept their ‘knickers on’, sound like they were lifted out of a Handmaid’s Tale’s script,” she 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."

Jenn Selby, from the Women’s Equality Party said: "If he were to become an MP, Nick Conrad would be representing constituents who have experienced sexual assault and rape.

"He would be responsible for legislating on issues that affect women’s lives and would help determine what services are available for survivors of sexual violence.

"The idea that a man who said women should “keep their knickers on” to avoid rape and made apologies for rapists’ ‘sexual desire’ could be in that position is absolutely disgusting.”

Meanwhile, Labour's candidate for the Norfolk seat, Jessica Barnard, said she was "truly saddened" that the party had shortlisted Mr Conrad for selection.

She tweeted: "To the people of Broadland, 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."