Labour’s Jess Phillips and Angela Rayner have hit out after the Conservative party announced it had selected a former radio host who said women should ‘keep their knickers on’ as its general election candidate.
Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad, 34, has received the backing of the local Tory party despite infamous comments he made in 2014 when he weighed in on a high profile rape case.
Conrad has since apologised for his comments on the case of Sheffield United striker Ched Evans, whose 2012 rape conviction was quashed in 2016.
After Evans returned to the club, Conrad gave his view in a live debate.
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 when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm.”
He also said: “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?”
The comments were investigated by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom with no further action taken.
The presenter told the Eastern Daily Press that he was “absolutely delighted” to be selected as the Tory candidate for Broadland.
He said he had apologised for his comments in 2014 and did so again.
“It’s a very genuine heartfelt apology,” he 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.
“I apologise, I learned from it and I moved forward.
“I think that’s the critical thing.”
Jess Phillips reacted on Twitter to Conrad’s selection, saying: “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 described Conrad’s comments as “despicable”.
She said he is “not fit” to be an MP and called on the Tories to drop his nomination.
She also said the comments sounded like they were from the Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian Margaret Atwood novel about an arch-patriarchal dystopia.
She said: “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.”
Boris Johnson was later asked about the remarks and said that they were “completely unacceptable”.