The Conservative Party is “infected with sexism from top to bottom”, Labour frontbencher Angela Rayner has declared in response to the party refusing to reject a controversial candidate.
Nick Conrad, a former BBC radio presenter who has been selected as the Tory candidate for the safe blue seat of Broadland, once advised women to “keep your knickers on” to avoid being raped.
When asked whether he was comfortable with Conrad being a Tory candidate, the Prime Minister accepted that the comments were “completely unacceptable” but added that “he has apologised long ago.”
Commenting on Johnson’s refusal to say Conrad should not be a candidate, Angela Rayner said: “The fact that Boris Johnson has stood by the Conservative candidate who says victims of rape are to blame, rather than their attackers, is further evidence that the Party is infected with sexism from top to bottom.
“Nick Conrad’s 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 becomes one. He must be immediately dropped as a candidate.
“But sadly Boris Johnson’s defence of Nick Conrad comes as no surprise. Johnson himself wrote that the way to deal with advice from a female colleague was to ‘just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way’, Johnson has been accused of squeezing the thigh of a young journalist at a work lunch and Johnson abstained on a vote to extend abortion rights to women in Northern Ireland.
“As long as Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, we risk losing the hard-won rights that women before us gave up their lives and liberty to attain.”
On the radio in 2014, Conrad 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.”
Conrad apologised for his statements at the time and no further action was taken against him by the radio industry watchdog, according to the BBC.
Update: Nick Conrad has withdrawn his candidacy in order to stop his comments continuing to be a “distraction”.