Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Britain decides: More candidates drop out of UK election campaign

Inappropriate comments by UK candidates have led to more resignations

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he talks with school teachers during a general election campaign visit in Nottinghamshire. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he talks with school teachers during a general election campaign visit in Nottinghamshire. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

More candidates have dropped out of the UK election race amid controversy.

It follows a week of drama as campaigning began ahead of the December 12 election.

The latest politician to drop out is opposition Labour candidate Gideon Bull after he was accused of making an anti-semitic remark.

It comes after he used the term Shylock during a council meeting.

The councillor, who was standing in Clacton, Essex, said he did not realise the Shakespearean character from the Merchant of Venice was a Jew.

His resignation comes a day after Conservative candidate Nick Conrad stood down following criticism of comments he made about a rape case.

He had been due to stand in the Broadland constituency in Norfolk. On Thursday night he said: “It has become clear to me that the media attention on my previous comments have become a distraction."

Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, had described his comments as “despicable”.

She said: “He is not fit to be an MP and it would be an affront to women everywhere if he were to become one.”

On Thursday another Labour candidate caused controversy after comparing celebrating the death of former prime minister Tony Blair to celebrating the death of Adolf Hitler.

Jane Aitchison is bidding to stand in the northern town of Pudsey.

She refutes the comments which were made in a radio interview and is continuing to stand.

Earlier in the week a number of high profile figures stepped down, including Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson and cabinet minister Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

Mr Cairns resigned after being accused of "brazenly lying" about his knowledge of an allegation that a Tory candidate had sabotaged a rape trial.

Mr Watson cited personal reasons for his decision but it came just a few months after a bid by some of his party members to oust him.

All the leaders are presently touring the UK to launch their campaigns.

Updated: November 8, 2019 07:13 PM

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