Equality in the workplace has been put into question after a team researching BBC programme Inside Out West revealed that 25 out of 30 recruitment agencies agreed to a request to supply white-only candidates.

The request was made for a fake receptionist vacancy as part of an undercover investigation.

Tom Hadley, of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said that he would expect any agency which was a member of the REC to “challenge that kind of discriminatory instruction”.

He went on to say that he would expect members to “walk away from the business” if necessary, which he suggested demonstrated “how seriously” the REC takes such issues.

Mr Hadley went on: “It shows there’s still a lot of work we need to do. We will not tolerate this kind of discriminatory behaviour.”

The BBC quoted employment law specialist Alex Lock who said that until it is made clear that accepting a request to place a white only employee is “discrimination” and “wrong”, the problem will persist.