The Governor of North Carolina has warned Olympian Caitlyn Jenner not to use the women’s bathroom in his state.

Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican who is fighting for re-election next month, made the claims in a debate with his Democratic opponent Roy Cooper.

North Carolina has lost a string of big investment ventures over Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB 2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

Cooper has pledged to repeal the law and protect LGBT people from discrimination, but McCrory continues to insist it is “common sense”.

In a long exchange during the TV debate, McCrory insisted: “If you’re in our schools, if you’re a man, you’ve got to go to the man’s locker room, restroom or shower, and if you’re a woman you’ve got to go to the appropriate shower.”

Asked if the rules should apply to Caitlyn Jenner, he replied: “If she’s going to shower at a facility at UNC-Chapel Hill after running around the track, she’s going to use the men’s shower.”

At one point, Cooper responded: “Governor, what planet are you on?”

The Democrat continued: “HB2 has to be repealed. It writes discrimination into our law and it has been a disaster for our economy. Paypal, hundreds of jobs, Asheville, hundreds of jobs.

“This legislation was passed in one day and signed in the middle of the night, but Governor McCrory continues to go across the state saying it is not hurting our economy, he attacks businesses who are opposed to it, and says everything is going fine.

“We have to pull the business community together, we have to get this law repealed, quit blaming it on other people… what we have to do is repeal House Bill 2 now.”

Polling has showed that McCrory is trailing in the race.