Howard Ebison, The Apprentice’s openly gay contestant, was fired at the climax of last night’s show, having volunteered as project manager in the shopping channel task.

His team’s attempt to outdo their rivals failed when the high value products they had chosen to sell, including leather jackets and chip fryers, were not favoured by their target market.

Howard’s cautious nature may have cost him the chance to become Sir Alan’s right hand man, with accusations that he had not been a risk-taker or a ‘brave warrior’.

Despite being the area manager of ten pubs, the 24 year-old’s business skills were not enough to save him.With the explanation that he doesn’t have time for ‘ordinary people’, Sir Alan ended Howard’s hopes for a place in the semi-final.

In an earlier episode, the teams were ordered by Sir Alan to think of a new identity for the fading resort of Margate. Howard suggested attracting the pink pound, to the annoyance of his colleague Mona Lewis.

She reportedly disagreed, saying she would not like her six-year-old son to meet a gay man. Her comments were screened out of the final cut.

Howard was open about his being gay from the very beginning of his time on The Apprentice, stating in a press release that he is in a committed relationship with his male partner, who is ten years his senior.

Sir Alan was said to be “not bothered” by reports about Howard’s sexuality.