Conservatives reveal replacement for Nick Conrad as Broadland general election candidate

Jerome Mayhew has been selected as Conservative candidate in Broadland. Photo: Contributed

Jerome Mayhew has been selected as Conservative candidate in Broadland. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The managing director of outdoor activity chain Go Ape has been picked to replace former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad as the Conservative general election candidate for Broadland.

Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad. Pic: Nick Butcher.

Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad. Pic: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Broadland Conservative Association has selected Jerome Mayhew to stand in the constituency, after the man who originally beat him to be named as their candidate quit amid controversy over previous comments about rape.

Mr Conrad had beaten rivals Mr Mayhew and Alicia Kearns to be named on Wednesday as the Tory candidate to try to keep Broadland Conservative, following the decision by Keith Simpson not to seek re-election.

But Mr Conrad came under increasing pressure to stand down as candidate due to comments he made when presenting a Radio Norfolk show in 2014.

Mr Conrad made comments during a show about the rape conviction of former Norwich City Football Club loan player Ched Evans, who was later cleared at retrial.

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

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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,Mr Conrad, who quit his radio breakfast show to stand for the Conservatives, said he had been quizzed about those comments during the selection process and apologised again, saying he knew he had messed up and got it wrong.

But, with the spotlight of national newspapers and broadcasters shone on his comments - and prime minister Boris Johnson describing them as "completely unacceptable", Mr Conrad stepped down on Thursday evening.

And Broadland Conservatives have turned to Mr Mayhew to stand as their candidate for next month's election.

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The father-of-three, who lives in Suffolk, is the managing director of outdoors adventure company Go Ape.

He has had held that role since 2009, after an initial career as a barrister.

He is the son of Lord Mayhew, who served in the cabinets of prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

The other candidate who was part of the original selection process, Ms Kearns had already been named as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Rutland and Melton.

Mr Mayhew will now take on Jess Barnard (Labour), Andrew Boswell (Green), Ben Goodwin (Liberal Democrat) and Alex Hayes (Brexit Party) in a seat where the Conservatives held the seat with a majority of more than 15,000 in the 2017 election.

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