Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been rapped by the media watchdog for describing a car as ‘a bit ginger beer’ – rhyming slang for ‘queer’.

Ofcom said there was ‘no justification’ for the comment.

The TV star was discussing a Daihatsu Copen during an episode of the BBC show last year.

He referred to it as ‘a bit gay’, adding: “It’s a bit ginger beer.”

Ofcom said use of the word ‘gay’ was not necessarily offensive.

It referred to the Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘gay’ as ‘foolish, stupid and occasionally inappropriate, disapproved of and lame’.

But the watchdog said: “In this edition of Top Gear, the presenter’s use of a Cockney rhyming phrase made clear he intended to give a particular meaning to use of the word ‘gay’… ie not to restrict its meaning simply to foolish or stupid, but clearly linking the reference to homosexual people.

“This, in Ofcom’s opinion, meant that the use of the word became capable of giving offence. In the context, there was no justification for using the word in this way.”

Ofcom said the complaint had been resolved because the BBC had already warned the production team and producers not to repeat the offence.

The BBC’s own investigation upheld complaints about Clarkson’s use of the word ‘gay’ during the episode screened in July last year.