Strictly Come Dancing‘s Anton du Beke is at the centre of a row after using a racist term against his partner Laila Rouass, say reports.

The News Of The World claims that du Beke used the insult a fortnight ago after the former Footballers Wives star had a spray tan.

He has now admitted that the term was used “in jest” but apologised for any offence caused and denied that he was a racist.

“I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language,” he said.

“During the course of rehearsals Laila and I have exchanged a great deal of banter entirely in jest, and two weeks ago there was an occasion when this term was used between the two of us.

“There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it, which was done without thought or consideration of how others would react.

“I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused.”

Rouass – who performed a quickstep with du Beke on Saturday’s show – said she has since accepted the apology.

“It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from,” she said. “I’m really enjoying the show and dancing with Anton and hope we can go as far as possible in the competition.”

A BBC spokesman said, “The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace.”

Rouass and du Beke remain in the show after being voted through by the public on Saturday. Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding became the third celebrity to leave the competition.