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Farage defends Jeremy Clarkson as BBC issues final warning

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has stepped into the Top Gear racism row to defend Jeremy Clarkson, saying the TV star had not gone over the line of being offensive.

The BBC has put the presenter on a final warning over the controversy, but Mr Farage said it was "just typical Clarkson".

Clarkson admitted he will be sacked by the broadcaster if he makes another offensive remark, after claims he used the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe during filming of the BBC2 programme.

Writing in his weekly Sun column the presenter also attacked the BBC for urging him to apologise over the footage, complaining he could not say sorry for something he had not done.

He said: "I've been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.

"And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head.

"It's inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I've offended them, and that will be that."

Speaking about the BBC's 'plan' for him to apologise, he added: "But saying sorry for using the most racist word of them all and hoping the story would die down as a result?

"...It's something I hadn't done."

The star became embroiled in controversy after the Daily Mirror saw unaired footage of him using the nursery rhyme to compare two sports cars and claims the word n***** can be heard.

Clarkson said he "mumbled where the offensive word would normally occur" in two takes, and used the word "teacher" in its place in a third.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Dover, Mr Farage said: "The more controversial Jeremy Clarkson is, the more people watch his programme, and the more money the BBC makes out of marketing a show that sells globally and makes them a fortune.

"I would think it's just typical Clarkson, getting very, very close to the line of being offensive but perhaps not quite going over it."

Mr Farage's intervention comes after Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman called for the BBC to sack the presenter.

In a Twitter post Ms Harman said: "Anybody who uses the N-word in public or private in whatever context has no place in the British Broadcasting Corporation."

But Education Secretary Michael Gove urged the corporation not to axe Clarkson because he had been "clear in his apology".

In a video posted online, Clarkson said he "did everything in my power to not use that word" and was now "begging your forgiveness for the fact that obviously my efforts weren't quite good enough".

A solemn-looking Clarkson said: "I was mortified by this, horrified. It is a word I loathe."

Clarkson had earlier tweeted: "I did not use the n-word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time."

The claims come days after the motoring show's producer apologised for broadcasting a "light-hearted" joke by Clarkson that sparked a complaint of racism.

An episode, filmed in Burma and Thailand and shown in March, featured a scene in which the presenters built a bridge over the River Kwai, and as an Asian man walked over it Clarkson said: "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it."

Somi Guha, an actress who complained to the BBC, said the use of the word "slope" was an example of "casual racism" and "gross misconduct".

In recent years Clarkson has been cleared of breaching the broadcasting code by watchdog Ofcom after comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces.

He previously faced a storm of protest from mental health charities after he branded people who throw themselves under trains as ''selfish'' and was forced to apologise for telling BBC1's The One Show that striking workers should be shot.

The motoring show has also faced complaints from Indian and Mexican politicians over remarks made about their countries while filming on location.

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