Singer Olly Murs has defended James Arthur following his use of homophobic slurs against another artist in a “rap feud”.

In Arthur’s rap at Micky Worthless, he had said: “You f***ing queer. Hilarious, precarious you Talibani confused, imbellic mimic of a gimmick.”

Last Monday, Arthur closed down his Twitter account after receiving an avalanche of criticism.

The day before he apologised saying: ”I just have to say I’m extremely disappointed in myself for being so naive with the diss track I made for an unknown rapper recently… Some of the things said in this rap can be mistaken for homophobic slurs and I assure you homophobia is something I do not believe in I have many many gay friends”.

“To be fair to James he did comment and he made a very good statement saying, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say it,'” Murs said to Digital Spy.

“But, look, he’s got a couple of weeks off I suppose to get himself back to scratch. He’s a talented lad, he’s got a great voice, great ability and hopefully he bounces back.

“I just think sometimes when your back’s against the wall you just say things and you probably don’t mean it. So I give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Arthur was signed off from work with exhaustion and cancelled a string of commitments last week.

He also became embroiled in a Twitter spat with last year’s X Factor contender Lucy Spraggan over his use of the word “queer”.