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Labour Candidate For Clacton Steps Down Amid Growing Anti-Semitism Allegations - Reports

© AFP 2023 / ODD ANDERSENBritish opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech following the pro-Brexit result of the UK's EU referendum vote, in central London on June 25, 2016
British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech following the pro-Brexit result of the UK's EU referendum vote, in central London on June 25, 2016 - Sputnik International
Accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour and its leadership have plagued the party since the election of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. The political leader has since made efforts to combat anti-Semitic behaviour within the party.

A Labour Party councillor running to become the MP for Clacton dropped his candidacy on Friday for the General Election after being accused of making an anti-Semitic comment.

Gideon Bull said it is not currently the best time to stand for election following accusations against that him that he made a reference to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice often considered an offensive portrayal of Jews, during a Haringey Council cabinet meeting back in July.

"The allegation that I called a Jewish cabinet member 'Shylock' is entirely false" he said in a statement, claiming that it was analogy used in reference to a housing decision and not any other member of the council. 

"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", he said.

"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".

The comment was reported by fellow councillor Zena Brabazon, reportedly the target of the remark.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism's head of political and government investigations, Joe Glasman condemned Mr Bull's comment as "unacceptable".

Glasman then directed further accusations against the Labour Party as a whole saying: "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".

It has also been alleged that Gideon had previously used racial slurs "ni****s" and "P***s".

​This comes a day after Kate Ramsden, another Labour candidate, stood down in Aberdeenshire following accusations of anti-Semitism for comparing Israel to an "abused child" who becomes an abusive adult.

Ms Ramsden, however, apologised following her decision to withdraw, saying it was never her intention and that she can understand "why many Jewish people have been hurt by my words".

Former Parliament Speaker John Bercow, himself Jewish, said yesterday that he does not believe Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite but that the party does have a "challenge" to overcome, stating during an interview with Alistair Campbell for GQ Magazine: “I’m not saying that he doesn’t have a challenge in his party… I respect those who are very concerned about it, but I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic".

In July, during an emergence shadow cabinet meeting, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn issued an order accelerate the removal of anti-Semites from Labour‘s ranks, and vowed to confront the "poison" of anti-Semitism.

Corbyn has said that the Labour Party has a zero-tolerance policy for anti-Semitism in the party and has issued guidelines for Labour Party members to follow regarding opposing anti-Jewish sentiment.

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