Clacton Labour candidate quits over 'Shylock' comment

Image source, Haringey Council
Image caption,
Gideon Bull denied aiming the "Shylock" comment at a Jewish councillor

A Labour candidate has pulled out of the election race over using an anti-Semitic remark.

Gideon Bull denied calling a Jewish councillor Shylock directly but admitted using the word during a private meeting.

The Haringey councillor, who was standing in Clacton, Essex, said he did not realise the Shakespearean character was a Jew.

The Labour Party has not responded to Mr Bull's resignation.

A complaint about Mr Bull's use of the term was made to the party in July.

Mr Bull said it was "entirely false" that he had been referring to councillor Zena Brabazon.

He said: "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."

He added the "most important thing" was to get a Labour MP elected in Clacton, where his parents live.

Shylock is a ruthless Jewish moneylender and principal antagonist in The Merchant of Venice.

Ms Brabazon declined to comment.