A candidate for the upcoming Lewisham East by-election had to pull out of the race after it was revealed she compared the Palestine conflict to the Holocaust.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, founder and director of UK Black Pride and head of equality at PCS Trade Union, announced she was stepping out of the running on May 13.

The Lewisham East seat is now open after current MP Heidi Alexander announced her decision to step down and take a role as Deputy Mayor for London.

The decision came after political news site Guido Fawkes published a Facebook post by Opoku-Gyimah where she compared what is happening in Palestine to the Holocaust on Holocaust Memorial Day.

She announced on Sunday that she would be stepping down due to “an unexpected family situation”.

In a statement on her Twitter profile, she wrote: “I want to let you know that an unexpected family situation has forced me to reflect long and hard on whether to put myself forward for consideration to be selected as the next Labour Party candidate in the Lewisham East by-election.

“The opportunity to represent was an honour I would have relished. The support I have received made me believe it could be done.

“It has not been an easy or happy decision for me to not put myself forward so I ask for my privacy at this time.”

Janet Daby is the new frontrunner to be the Labour candidate for the Lewisham East by-election, while Labour as a whole are 1-33 favourite to take the seat.