Apprentice star had posted mocked-up image of Labour leader in car next to Nazi dictator

Lord Sugar, the businessman and Apprentice host, has deleted a tweet that depicted Jeremy Corbyn sitting next to Adolf Hitler after criticism from senior Labour figures.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had called on Sugar to “delete and disown” the tweet.

Sugar responded to McDonnell by arguing he had not created the mocked-up image and called on Corbyn to comment on addressing antisemitism within Labour.

He wrote on Twitter: “Dear Mr McDonnell. I am sorry you are offended by my retweet on the picture.

“First let me say I am not the originator, it has been doing the rounds. You need to get Corbyn to make a firm statement about antisemitism. There is no smoke without fire in Labour.”

The peer, who stars in the BBC’s The Apprentice, had posted the tweet on Friday that showed the Labour leader’s face superimposed next to an image of the Nazi leader in a car during a Nuremberg rally.

Alongside it, Sugar wrote: “Many a true word spoken in jest Corbyn.”

McDonnell appealed to Sugar to take the image down, saying that now is “the time to learn from each other and unite people”.

He said on Twitter: “People have contacted me about Alan Sugar’s tweet. I just make this appeal to him. Please delete and disown it. We all desperately need to bring people together now. We can hold strong views about each other’s politics, but now is the time to learn from each other and unite people.”

The Labour MP John Mann, a critic of Corbyn’s, backed McDonnell, tweeting:

Sugar later responded: “It’s a joke, but the angry brigade like to moan.”

The controversial tweet comes after a tough week for Corbyn, amid a row over antisemitism within the Labour party.

Corbyn issued a Passover message saying he is an “ally” in the fight against antisemitism.

Sugar resigned from the Labour party in May 2015 after an 18-year affiliation, attacking what he called “anti-enterprise concepts” and “a policy shift moving back towards what old Labour stood for”.