Gideon Bull Shylock remarks, candidate pulls out after saying ‘Shylock’.
Labour’s prospective candidate for Clacton has pulled out of the general election after using the term “Shylock” in front of a Jewish councillor.
Haringey Council’s Gideon Bull used the antisemitic term in a private cabinet meeting in July, at which plans for a housing scheme were discussed.
The ruthless Jewish moneylender depicted in William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, who demands a pound of flesh as compensation for default on a loan, was used as a propaganda tool in Nazi Germany.
Bull admitted to using the term in an interview with BBC Essex on Friday morning, but denied directing the remark at Jewish cabinet member Zena Brabazon and claimed he “didn’t know that Shylock was a Jewish character”.
“I didn’t say anything that I consider to be wrong. Soon as I was told that what I said was an expression that can no longer be used because it does have antisemitic connotations, I gave an absolute, unreserved apology,” he said.
“I won’t apologise for the way I was brought up as a child but I will say that I understand that expressions that we used to use in the seventies and eighties when I was a child, you can’t use those expressions now,” he added.
Labour launched an investigation into the comment earlier this year after the matter was referred to the national party.