The BBC denies double standards in the way it has retained dancer Anton Du Beke following the Strictly Come Dancing race row.

The corporation is under pressure to sack Du Beke after it was revealed he described actress Laila Rouass as a ‘Paki’.

Hope Not Hate, the anti-racism campaign, said Du Beke should be axed from the popular show for his remark to the former Footballers’ Wives star.

The call came after Carol Thatcher, daughter of former prime minister Baroness Thatcher, was sacked earlier this year from the BBC’s The One Show after referring to a tennis player as a golliwog.

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 BBC took a clear line on the Carol Thatcher golliwog comment. If anything this comment is even more offensive.”

But a spokesman for the BBC said Du Beke had offered an unreserved apology, whereas Thatcher had apologised but maintained it was a joke.

The spokesman said her apology was not unconditional, despite explanations that the term was offensive. He said: “Anton understands that it’s offensive and has unconditionally apologised.”

Du Beke used the insult a fortnight ago during rehearsals after Rouass, his celebrity dance partner, had used a spray tan.

The 38-year-old actress was reportedly ‘gobsmacked’ by the comment, which was overheard by several members of the Strictly team. She has since accepted Du Beke’s apology.