Friday 8 November 2019 11:09 am

Clacton Labour candidate Gideon Bull steps down over 'Shylock' remark

The Labour Party candidate for Clacton has stepped down after allegations he made an antisemitic remark to a fellow Labour councillor.

Gideon Bull, who is a cabinet member in Haringey council, was accused of calling Jewish councillor Zena Brabazon “Shylock” during a private meeting.

Bull denied he called Brabazon “Shylock” but admitted he used the term.

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

In a statement, 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.”

Bull added: “I’ve decided that right now is not the best time for me to stand as a candidate.”

Brabazon reportedly made a complaint about the remark, sparking a Labour Party investigation.

Brabazon is the London borough’s deputy council leader and Bull is cabinet member for local investment and economic growth.

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The Labour Party has been repeatedly accused of institutional antsemitism since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader in 2015.

Today, the Jewish Chronicle published a front page article denouncing Corbyn and urging voters not to back him at the general election.

“The vast majority of British Jews consider Jeremy Corbyn to be an antisemite. In the most recent poll, last month, the figure was 87 per cent,” the paper wrote.

“If this man is chosen as our next prime minister, the message will be stark: that our dismay that he could ever be elevated to a prominent role in British politics, and our fears of where that will lead, are irrelevant,” it said.

Brabazon and the Labour Party were contacted for comment.