Gideon Bull, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate in Clacton, has withdrawn his candidacy after Campaign Against Antisemitism publicised a past comment he made referring to a Jewish fellow Labour councillor as “Shylock” earlier this year, in an apparent reference to the villainous Shakespearean Jewish moneylender.
Cllr Bull reportedly made the comment when he was a Labour councillor at Haringey Council in London, where he also served in the cabinet. The recipient of his abuse made a complaint.
In his withdrawal statement, Cllr Bull said that he used an “analogy when referring to a housing decision” and “was not referring to the councillor”, and after being informed that the comment was “offensive”, he said that he “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.”
The revelation came after an analysis by Campaign Against Antisemitism showed how supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are trying to place a cast of Jew-haters, antisemitism-deniers and Jew-baiters in dozens of constituencies ahead of general election.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Gideon Bull’s comment, in which he called a Jewish fellow councillor ‘Shylock’, after the villainous Shakespearean Jewish character, was unacceptable, and of course he had to withdraw his candidacy. Not a day goes by without a revelation about a Labour candidate’s troubling record in relation to Jews, exemplifying the institutional antisemitism of the Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. It is a reflection of the present state of the Labour Party that other candidates who have said and done much worse remain as candidates.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”