John Sergeant has denied he was forced to quit Strictly Come Dancing.

The former BBC political correspondent, who announced he was leaving Striclty Come Dancing on Wednesday, rejected suggestions that he was pushed out by TV bosses.

He told The Sun: “Anyone thinking that I can be leant on or bullied does not know me very well. I decide to choose my own battles. What I did not want was a bloody battle.”

John, who was criticised by the show’s judges both on screen and in the press, said he wanted to bow out gracefully: “The reasons for leaving; well it is like when do you leave a party?”

“You leave before the fighting starts and I think that is what has happened on this occasion.”

“We had fun dancing and dancing is a wonderfully enjoyable thing, but if the joke wears thin, if people begin to take things very seriously and if people are getting so wound up that is very difficult to carry on the joke, then it is time to go.”

John will perform his last dance on Saturday with his partner, Kristina Rihanoff.

Strictly judge Arlene Philips, who had previously called John a ‘dancing pig in Cuban heels’, said she was sad to see him go.

Arlene said: “I’m always sad if a contestant leaves of choice, because you are always expecting to let the public vote them in or out – but John is his own person and he has his own reasons for doing this.”