A former BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter who said women should “keep their knickers on” while discussing a high-profile rape case has stepped down as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Broadland in Norfolk.
Nick Conrad (34) received the backing of the local party on Wednesday to run for the safe seat held by Tory Keith Simpson who has stepped down after 22 years as an MP.
But since then the he has been severely criticised for comments he made in 2014 during a radio conversation about footballer Ched Evans.
The former Sheffield United striker was originally convicted of rape and jailed in 2012 before the conviction was quashed and he was cleared altogether at a retrial in 2016.
Mr Conrad made his comments during a live debate about Mr Evans, who provoked an outcry when he initially returned to train with Sheffield United.
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 after Mr Conrad and the BBC apologised.
The presenter said he had apologised at the time and did so again, but senior Labour figures have criticised his selection, while Boris Johnson said his comments were “completely unacceptable”, although he pointed out he had apologised.
Mr Conrad has now released a statement where he has confirmed he will no longer stand at the election.
He said: “Five years ago I made ill-judged comments during an on-air radio discussion for which I made a genuine and heartfelt apology.
“I was honoured to be made the Conservative candidate for Broadland and had hoped to become the MP for a constituency which is close to my heart.
“However, it has become clear to me that the media attention on my previous comments have become a distraction.
“For me, the most important thing is for the Conservative Party to be successful in the forthcoming election - getting Brexit done and delivering on the people’s priorities.
“This is why I have reluctantly concluded I must stand down to allow one of the other excellent candidates the opportunity to win this fantastic seat.
“I would like to thank Broadland Conservative Association for their support and wish the party every success in the election on December 12.”