A would-be Labour MP accused of calling a Jewish woman 'Shylock' quit as an election candidate today as the party's anti-Semitism crisis continued to overshadow Jeremy Corbyn's campaign.
Gideon Bull, who was standing in Clacton, said he was stepping down but insisted he had not directed the slur at anyone specifically when he made it in a council meeting.
Mr Bull, who sits on the authority in Haringey, London, insisted that he did not know that Shylock was Jewish.
The character is a central figure in Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice. It has been controversial for decades because of its portrayal of him as a ruthless, venal moneylender who demands 'a pound of flesh' from defaulters.
It came as a Jewish Labour MP refused to endorse Mr Corbyn for prime minister.
Dame Margaret Hodge, a vocal critic of Mr Corbyn's handling of the party's anti-Semitism crisis, said she believed 'any government is more than any individual' as she refused to give her backing.
And a former Labour MP who has urged voters to back the Tories on December 12 today claimed Jeremy Corbyn does not 'love this country' as the party's election meltdown continued.
Ian Austin, an ex-minister, said Mr Corbyn always 'picks this country's enemies' over backing Britain and must not be allowed into Number 10.
And last night Mr Corbyn himself shared a stage with a candidate who once made a slew of tasteless social media posts, including a rape slur involving Boris Johnson's mother.
Mr Corbyn appeared with West Derby candidate Ian Byrne at a rally in Manchester where he said he was 'proud' of all his candidates.
In another shocking development another candidate who posed with the party this week was accused of supporting a colleague who suggested Israelis could support 'a Jewish final solution to the Palestine problem'.
Harlow PPC Laura McAlpine is said to have defended her aide by arguing 'the context somewhat excuses the remarks' in an internal party email obtained by Jewish News.
Mr Bull (right), who sits on Haringey Council in London, insisted that he did not know that Shylock (portrayed by Al Pacino in a 2004 film, left) was Jewish
Dame Margaret Hodge today refused to endorse Jeremy Corbyn to be PM despite her standing as a Labour candidate
Mr Corbyn (centre) appeared with West Derby candidate Ian Byrne (second from left) at a rally in Manchester.
Mr Byrne once made a slew of tasteless social media posts, including a rape slur involving Boris Johnson's mother
In a statement Mr Bull said: 'I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers.
A Labour election candidate quit yesterday after it emerged she had compared the actions of Israel to those of a child abuser.
In a blog post, Kate Ramsden also reportedly said anti-Semitism claims against Jeremy Corbyn were 'orchestrated by the wealthy establishment'.
In an apparent reference to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, Miss Ramsden wrote of Israel: 'Like many abusers, unable to reflect on their own abuse, and ending up recreating it in the abuse of others, exerting their power on those weaker than themselves because once they were the powerless.'
The Unison union official also wrote: 'To me the Israeli state is like an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.'
Miss Ramsden – the candidate for Gordon in Scotland – apologised last night and said: 'I have taken the decision to step down as Labour Party candidate in Gordon, following criticism of a blog written at the height of the bombardment of Gaza by the Government of Israel in 2014.
'I can see that many Jewish people have been hurt by my words. That was never my intention and I apologise unreservedly.
'I reflected on it and decided to delete the post. This was my decision. I was not directed to do so.'
Ms Ramsden's resignation came at the same time as Labour lost another candidate - Frances Hoole in Edinburgh South West - following a controversial tweet.
Ms Hoole, who was running against SNP incumbent Joanna Cherry, posted a meme with the slogan 'bang and the Terf is gone'.
Terf, meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist, is considered an insulting term for those who are campaigning for sex-based rights.
Ms Cherry had shared tweet, saying she had received a death threat and a 'storm of misogynistic abuse for defending 'women's rights'.
Ms Hoole told the Edinburgh Evening News: 'I am genuinely really sorry I posted it. I'm sorry about the violent content.
'Obviously it's a controversial subject - not the violence, I'm completely explicit about that being wrong - but the subject attached to it has got confused in the issue.
'I apologised about the actual content of the meme. It was silly, I posted it without looking very hard at it.'
'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 apologised and explained that I did not know that Shylock was