A remark made by Jeremy Clarkson about lorry drivers killing sex workers was not in breach of broadcasting guidelines, an Ofcom ruling has declared.

More than 2,000 people complained about the Top Gear host's comments but the media watchdog has said he was "clearly using exaggeration to make a joke".

"Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day," the 48-year-old said last month.

The comments may have been a reference to Steve Wright, a lorry driver jailed in February for the murder of five prostitutes.

The so-called Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women - many of them prostitutes - was also a truck driver.

Labour MP Chris Mole called for Clarkson to be sacked, calling the comments "a dismissible offence".

Five women working as prostitutes were murdered in Mr Mole's Ipswich constituency in 2006.

But an Ofcom statement said Clarkson's remarks should be viewed as comic in intent.

"Ofcom did not believe the intention of the comments could be seen to imply that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes, nor would it be reasonable to make such an inference," the regulator said.

"In Ofcom's view, the presenter was clearly using exaggeration to make a joke, albeit not to everyone's taste. The comments should therefore be seen in that context."

The statement added the majority of the audience would have understood the presenter's remarks as being made for comic effect, and were in keeping with what would normally be expected from him on the show.

The BBC had said Clarkson's quip was "used to comically exaggerate, and make ridiculous, an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence".

08/12/2008 17:23:42