X Factor judge Simon Cowell has spoken out in defence of contestant Chloe Mafia after it was claimed she is a £160-an-hour call girl, saying: “We haven’t banned prostitutes.”

Cowell told The Sun: “We haven’t banned prostitutes. I think you’d want to show the story if we’re allowed – I want to see the story.

“We can’t just take people off the show because they might do something that upsets some people.  If a person applies to be on The X Factor it’s obvious to me that they want to do something better with their life.”

Last night an X Factor spokeswoman said that Mafia had denied reports she was a prostitute, but a website which appears to be for the X Factor contestant, who works under the name Candy, described her as an ‘100 per cent English Yorkshire dirty slut’.

Prostitution is not illegal in the UK, but soliciting, pimping and kerb crawling are. This means that if X Factor’s Chloe does not openly advertise sex, her job is perfectly legal.

An X Factor spokeswoman said last night: “We don’t discriminate. We will look into the matter.”