AN anti-racism campaign has called for the BBC to sack Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke after it was revealed he used a racial slur to describe Laila Rouass.

Hope Not Hate - a campaign run by anti-fascist magazine Searchlight - said Du Beke should be axed for describing the actress as a "Paki", which he later apologised for and said was "in jest".

A Hope Not Hate spokesman said: "If calling someone a Paki is not racist behaviour then what is - quite simply the programme has to ask itself, is it going to condone racism on its show or is it going to deal with it quickly and decisively?"

The call came after Carol Thatcher was sacked this year from the BBC's The One Show after referring to a tennis player as a golliwog.

"The BBC took a clear line on the Carol Thatcher golliwog comment.

"If anything this comment is even more offensive," the Hope Not Hate spokesman said.

Du Beke used the insult a fortnight ago during rehearsals after Rouass, his celebrity dance partner, used a spray tan, the News Of The World said.

He admitted the term was used "in jest", but denied he was racist and apologised for any offence.

He said: "I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language."

He explained he and the actress had bantered a lot during rehearsals, and that when the term was used "there was no racist intent whatsoever".

Rouass has accepted his apology.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace."

The spokesman added that Du Beke apologised and Rouass accepted his apology.

He said Thatcher didn't apologise.