A BBC reporter who used inflammatory language about immigrants during a report on Channel crossings has admitted to a “poor” choice of words, the broadcaster has said.

Michael Keohan, a political reporter with BBC Kent, compared immigration to a battle in a controversial broadcast on Thursday morning, saying the country was “defending” itself from waves of migrants arriving on the English south coast.

Now the BBC has said the correspondent has expressed regret over his reporting.

A spokesperson said: “The reporter acknowledges that during a live insert for BBC News his choice of language was poor."

Keohan drew ire after a clip of his report was shared on social media, with Twitter users branding his comments “disgusting”.

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Speaking in Dover ahead of a visit from Suella Braverman, the reporter said: “This will be one of the places the Home Secretary will come to see for herself exactly how the UK is defending itself on the frontline against migrants.”

One user said he was framing the asylum crisis – which has seen people detained for lengthy periods in overcrowded camps – “as a war”.

It comes after Braverman was condemned for comparing the arrival of asylum seekers in Britain to an “invasion”.

She made the comment one day after a far-right extremist carried out a terrorist attack at an immigration centre in Kent, throwing petrol bombs at the site before taking his own life.

The Home Secretary visited the Manston immigration centre – which has been the centre of disease outbreaks and overcrowding – on Thursday.