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Gideon Bull: Second Labour candidate pulls out of election over anti-Semitism allegations

The i logo The i 08/11/2019
a man wearing glasses posing for the camera © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

A second Labour candidate has quit the election race after anti-Semitic comments he made in the past resurfaced this week.

Gideon Bull, who had been selected in the seat of Clacton in Essex, was accused of calling a Jewish colleague "Shylock" in July. It comes after Kate Ramsden, the Scottish candidate for Gordon, also pulled out of the election this week after a blog emerged in which she compared Israel to a child abuser.

Mr Bull, who is the Haringey Council cabinet member for local investment and economic growth, referred to the Jewish moneylender character from William Shakespeare's play The Merchant Of Venice during a cabinet meeting.

However, he said he did not know the character was Jewish and denied the accusation that he said it to colleague Zena Brabazon.

"The allegation that I called a Jewish cabinet member 'Shylock' is entirely false," he said, adding that he used an analogy when referring to a housing decision and was not referring to the councillor.

© Getty

'I didn't know it was offensive'

"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," said Mr Bull.

"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."

His comment was labelled "unacceptable" by the Campaign Against Antisemitism's Joe Glasman.

"Not a day goes by without a revelation about a Labour candidate's troubling record in relation to Jews, exemplifying the institutional anti-Semitism of the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn," he said.

Evidence - which is uncorroborated - has also emerged in which Mr Bull has been accused of using offensive terms for people of colour.

Politicians: Then and now [Photos]

'I can see why Jewish people have been hurt'

Ms Ramsden apologised over the blog entry which she said was "written at the height of the bombardment of Gaza by the government of Israel".

"I can see why many Jewish people have been hurt by my words. That was never my intention and I apologise unreservedly," she said, according to the BBC.

Earlier Labour lost another candidate following a controversial tweet. Frances Hoole, who had been selected for Edinburgh South West, posted an image of her SNP rival Joanna Cherry being targeted with bleach spray with the words “bang and the terf is gone”.

Ms Hoole has apologised, telling the Edinburgh Evening News: "I am genuinely really sorry I posted it. I'm sorry about the violent content."

i has contacted the Labour Party, Scottish Labour and Ms Brabazon for comment.

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