Nick Conrad in bid to become Conservative MP
PUBLISHED: 14:26 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 05 November 2019
Archant Norfolk 2017
Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad has resigned from the BBC in a bid to become a Conservative candidate in the general election.
The breakfast show host is on the party's shortlist in the Broadland constituency, held by Tory MP Keith Simpson since 2010.
Hustings for the seat will be held tomorrow night but the Broadland Conservative Association have not revealed who else is on the shortlist.
Mr Simpson announced he was stepping down in September, after voting against the government for the first time in his parliamentary career in July.
He said he would "miss the smell of greasepaint in parliament".
The MP had been in the seat since its creation in 2010, and had a majority of 15,816 in the 2017 election.
Mr Conrad has not presented his show on Radio Norfolk since last Thursday and staff were informed he had left the organisation with immediate effect.
He joined the BBC in 2007 and writes a weekly column for the Eastern Daily Press EDP.
In 2014, the presenter was criticised for comments he made on live air during a debate about footballer Ched Evans' conviction for rape.
He said women who "don't wish to give out the wrong signals" should "keep their knickers on".
Mr Conrad subsequently apologised for any offence he caused with the remarks, which campaigners condemned as "ignorant" and "demeaning", but no further action was taken by the broadcast regulator Ofcom.
Mr Simpson said Mr Conrad was "one of three people being interviewed tomorrow evening".
He said: "My management committee have put forward three people who I could live with.
"They all seem to be experienced, decent people and now it will all depend on how they perform tomorrow evening."
He added that whoever was selected in his seat would "have got to hit the ground running and win the election having been selected.
"You want somebody who has got some genuine links with the area, rather than 'I had an aunt who once stayed in a hotel in Reepham'."
And he said he hoped the successful candidate would continue "issues I've been campaigning on - dualling the A47, the health service, care of the elderly and the state of our schools."
Ben Goodwin, Liberal Democrat candidate in Broadland, said Mr Conrad's bid for a candidacy had been "a rumour for a long time" and added: "I'll look forward to facing whoever the Conservatives put up at the ballot box.
"I'm fighting it to win."
He added: "I think that voters and people in Broadland want change and not more of the same.
"Certainly from listening to them they do want someone different.
"Listening to residents, as I've been doing for quite some time now, they want someone who's experienced, who can lead and take tough decisions and use their experience for the benefit of the community.
"I've heard that loud and clear from Acle to Fakenham."
And Jess Barnard, Broadland's Labour candidate, wrote in a tweet: "I am truly saddened that this could be my opponent and a future MP.
"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."