Arlene Phillips should be reinstated by the BBC on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, equality Minister Harriet Harman has said.

Speaking during Commons questions, Ms Harman said the 66-year-old choreographer might be a victim of ‘age discrimination’.

Ms Harman told MPs: “I think it’s absolutely shocking that Arlene Phillips is not going to be a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.”

She continued: “And as equality minister, I am suspicious that there is age discrimination there.

“So I’d like to take the opportunity of asking the BBC – it is not too late, we want Arlene Phillips in the next edition of Strictly Come Dancing.”

Arlene will be replaced on the judging panel by 30-year-old singer Alesha Dixon, who won the competition in 2007, when the show returns in the autumn.

Arlene has been given a job on BBC’s The One Show as the Strictly Come Dancing commentator.