Labour General Election candidate stands down after 'Shylock' comment

8 November 2019, 10:14

Mr Bull has stepped down as an election candidate
Mr Bull has stepped down as an election candidate. Picture: Haringey Council
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A Labour General Election candidate has withdrawn after allegations of anti-Semitism while he was a counsellor.

Labour's candidate for Clacton, Gideon Bull, has quit the race to become an MP after accusations he used the term "shylock" to refer to a fellow counsellor.

It was alleged that during a private meeting, he used the term, which is regarded as being antisemitic.

Shylock is the name of the villainous Jewish moneylender in William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice.

Zena Brabazon, a member of Haringey Borough Council, made a complaint about Mr Bull's remarks, which occurred in July.

Mr Bull admitted he did use the term in a council meeting but it wasn't directed at anyone. He added he didn't realise Shylock was Jewish and apologised when he found out.

Earlier LBC exclusively revealed a string of offensive comments posted on Facebook by a Labour Candidate.

On Thursday the Conservative candidate for Broadland announced he was standing down over "ill-judged comments" he made during a radio discussion about a rape case.

Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad was selected on Wednesday to stand for Broadland despite the controversy over his comments in 2014 saying women should "keep your knickers on".

But following heavy criticism of his selection, he said on Thursday he would be standing aside as the media attention was becoming a "distraction".

Gideon Bull said: "The allegation that I called a Jewish Cabinet member 'Shylock' is entirely false. I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers. I was not referring to the councillor, who was not part of the call in.

When she politely informed me that this saying was offensive, I immediately apologised and explained that I did not know that Shylock was Jewish and I would never have mentioned Shylock if I had known this. I grew up in a working-class area in Ilford where this was a common saying, but I didn't know it was offensive. This was a genuine accident and I reiterate my sincere apology for this mistake.

He added that: “Right now is not the best time for me to stand as a candidate."

LBC News has approached the Labour Party for comment.