Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy CorbynReuters

A Labour candidate in Britain has pulled out of the election race over using an anti-Semitic remark, the BBC reported on Friday.

Gideon Bull denied calling a Jewish councillor Shylock directly but admitted using the word during a private meeting, according to the report.

The Haringey councillor, who was standing in Clacton, Essex, said he did not realize the Shakespearean character was a Jew.

The Labour Party has not responded to Bull's resignation.

A complaint about his use of the term was made to the party in July.

Bull said it was "entirely false" that he had been referring to councillor Zena Brabazon.

"I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers,” he argued.

"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 apologized 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," added Bull.

Shylock is depicted as a ruthless Jewish moneylender and principal antagonist in The Merchant of Venice.

Brabazon declined to comment, according to the BBC.

The Labour party has been plagued by anti-Semitism among its members. Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years.

On Thursday, Labour lawmaker Chris Williamson, a key ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, resigned amid criticism of him for downplaying the anti-Semitism in the party.

Allegations of anti-Semitism have also plagued Corbyn himself. The Labour leader insists he is not an anti-Semite.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)