A FORMER General Election candidate who pulled out of the race following an accusation he made an anti-Semitic comment has been cleared of wrongdoing by his party.

Gideon Bull quit as the Labour Party’s candidate for the Clacton seat in November after it emerged he was accused of making an anti-Semitic 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, denied he directed the term Shylock to a Jewish councillor during a private meeting.

Shylock is the name of the villainous Jewish moneylender in William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice and is regarded as being anti-Semitic.

An investigation took place after a complaint was made to the national Labour Party.

Mr Bull said the investigation has found he has not breached party rules.

He said: “The Labour Party undertook a thorough investigation and the National Executive Committee’s disputes panel came to a decision there was no breach of the party’s rules.

“I was informed of the decision by the governance and legal unit.”

Mr Bull had been put forward as the candidate for Clacton on November 5 after being selected over Clacton Labour Party’s vice-chairman James Machin and former parliamentary candidate Natasha Osben. However, he pulled out just three days later.

The party instead selected London councillor Kevin Bonavia to fight for the Clacton seat.

He came second, gaining just 6,736 votes, compared to Conservative candidate Giles Watling’s 31,438.

Following his decision to step down, Mr Bull told the Gazette said: “I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers.

“I was not referring to the councillor. When she politely informed me the saying was offensive, I immediately apologised and explained 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 areawhere 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.”

He added that it was “not the best time” for him to stand as a candidate.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “The party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures. Any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

It is understood Mr Bull was reminded of the “values and standards” the party expects from its members.