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General Election ’19 Women's rights campaigners say no to Tory ‘rape apologist’

Nick Conrad, a former BBC radio host and Tory MP candidate for Broadland in Norfolk, said women should ‘keep their knickers on’ to avoid ‘giving the wrong signals’

A FORMER radio host who said women should “keep their knickers on” to avoid “giving the wrong signals” is unfit to hold public office, women’s rights campaigners warned yesterday.

Nick Conrad will run as the Tory candidate for the parliamentary seat of Broadland in Norfolk, held by retiring Tory MP Keith Simpson. 

During a discussion on the rape case against footballer Ched Evans on his BBC Radio Norfolk show in 2014, Mr Conrad said women “need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desires.”

He said: “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.

“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.”

Women Against Rape spokesperson Nicola Mann said Mr Conrad’s candidacy shows how low rape and domestic violence are on the Conservative Party agenda.

She told the Star: “His prehistoric views affect all women and he’s unfit to hold public office.

“If elected, what’s he going to say if a rape victim comes to his surgery for help because her case has been closed or she has been threatened by her attacker? Will he tell her she should have kept her knickers on?

“[Considering Prime Minister] Boris Johnson was elected as leader of the Conservatives, despite his previous comments about ‘spaffing money up the wall’ on historic child sex abuse cases, it’s no surprise that Conrad’s shocking views on rape were ignored.”

Ms Mann said the Tories were responsible for rape conviction rates falling and said there was a need for MPs who will pass a domestic abuse Bill to protect women and children, not blame them.

On Wednesday, Tory Alan Cairns stepped down as Welsh Secretary after it was revealed he misled the public about his knowledge of a rape trial sabotage.

Ms Mann said the party showed a “pattern” of covering up rape and defending rapists.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said the Tories must immediately drop Mr Conrad as their candidate, saying: “Nick Conrad’s despicable comments blaming the victims of rape sound like they were lifted out of a Handmaid’s Tale’s script,” referring to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about subjugated women.

“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 Conservatives must drop him as a candidate immediately, but I have no faith that they will.”

Ms Rayner also criticised Mr Johnson’s attitudes, including his advice on dealing with a female colleague, was to “just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way.”

She said: “We must stand against the misogyny that infects the Conservative Party from top to bottom, including their own leader.”

Labour’s candidate for North West Norfolk Joanne Rust told the Star that phone conversations with Mr Conrad had left her feeling “uncomfortable and upset.”

Ms Rust, who was a regular contributor for the show, was cut off on one occasion and told by Mr Conrad in private that her behaviour was “appalling.”

She said: “It was very unpleasant having all the blame put on me and being made the sole person responsible for being cut off.”

Ms Rust said Mr Conrad’s “rape apologist tone” was how he talks in general, expressing strong opinions, and warned that he must have been a party member for at least a year to run as a candidate.

“The things he has said on the show are Conservative Party values and not of someone running an ‘impartial’ radio show,” Ms Rust added.

Mr Conrad will be facing Labour’s candidate Jessica Barnard in Broadland on the December 12 election.

Ms Barnard 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.”

Mr Johnson said the comments were “completely unacceptable” and that Mr Conrad had apologised “long ago.”

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