THE Labour Party candidate for the Clacton seat at the upcoming General Election has pulled out of the race.

Gideon Bull has quit as the party’s candidate after an accusation he made an antisemitic comment to a fellow cabinet colleague at Haringey Council.

Mr Bull, who is the London borough’s cabinet member for local investment and economic growth, denies the accusation.

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

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

In a statement Mr Bull said it “entirely false” that he directed the term to Jewish councillor Zena Brabazon, deputy leader of the council.

Mr Bull 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.

“This was a genuine accident and I reiterate my sincere apology for this mistake.”

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

“The most important thing is that we get a Labour MP elected in Clacton.

“My parents live in Clacton, which includes the most deprived area in the whole country, and I've seen first-hand how this community has been devastated by the Conservatives’ cuts.”

Mr Bull was unveiled as the candidate for Clacton on Tuesday after being selected over Clacton Labour Party’s vice chairman James Machin and former parliamentary candidate Natasha Osben, who stood for the party in 2017.

It is understood that a complaint was made to the national Labour Party in July.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • New candidate - Kevin Bonavia has now been picked to fight for the Clacton seat for Labour

Clacton Labour Party selected a new candidate on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman said: "Our new candidate Kevin Bonavia has a wealth of experience that will be of huge value to the residents of Clacton.

"Kevin is currently a Labour councillor for Blackheath.

"We are looking forward to working with Kevin to bring about positive change for the residents of Clacton in areas of social care, education and welfare."