James has said that Neil – who has been on the show since 2016, but never competed with a celebrity partner – should be able to take his place in this year’s contest, claiming there’s a need for more British talent on Strictly.
He told The Sun: “No question Neil Jones has to replace Pasha. He’s British for starters and there aren’t enough British dancers on the show.”
James is married to fellow dancer Ola Jordan, who was on Strictly for 10 years, and originally hails from Poland.
James added: “He’s ginger, he’s funny, he’s got a brilliant personality, he’s a great choreographer – I have no idea why he’s not had a partner previously.”
Neil was recently seen in the Dancing On Ice audience supporting James, who is a contestant on this year’s series.
Last year, Neil found himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife, fellow Strictly star Katya Jones, was caught on camera kissing her celebrity partner, comedian Seann Walsh.
Katya was quick to address the incident, insisting that it was no reflection on her relationship with her husband.
In the lead-up to the most recent series of Strictly, Neil was heavily rumoured to finally be getting a celebrity partner, though he later clarified this was not to be the case.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be paired up this series,” he told his followers, adding: “I’m really really happy to be part of such a great show and I just wanted to say to everyone, thank you so much for all of your kind words and your support.”