Boris Johnson interview was 'disgusting' and 'low', says his father
Boris Johnson’s father has hit out at the “disgusting” interview his son was subjected to by the BBC in which he was accused of lying over an alleged extra-marital affair.
Speaking to LBC radio, Stanley Johnson said that the BBC “sank about as low as it could” by grilling his son on live television about a range of issues including fabricating quotes and agreeing to help a friend with a plot to get someone beaten up.
The Mayor of London, widely considered a potential successor to David Cameron, looked distinctly uncomfortable as he was grilled about past misdemeanours on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show by presenter Eddie Mair yesterday.
Mr Johnson was questioned about accusations that he made up quotations in a piece of journalism, an alleged extra-marital affair as well as a tape recording of him agreeing to supply an address to a friend, Darius Guppy, who wanted to get someone beaten up.
Mr Johnson’s father attempted to defend his son this morning by accusing BBC interviewer Mr Mair of not having “essential respect” for the Mayor of London.
“I thought Eddie Mair's interview was about the most disgusting piece of journalism I've listened to for a very long time,” Mr Johnson said. “The BBC sank about as low as it could.
“If grilling people about their private lives, accusing them of guilt by association and openly abusing them is a legitimate interview, then frankly, I don't know where we are coming.”
Mr Johnson added: “I did watch it, I did watch it yesterday morning. l I felt great anger at this man. I have no idea who Eddie Mair is or what he does.”
He called that interview a “travesty” and said that the BBC had fallen short of “good broadcasting standards” by subjecting his son to a grilling on live television.
However, he suggested that the interview has not dented his son’s chances of becoming the Prime Minister.
“Boris is clearly a political figure in this country,” Mr Johnson said. “From my point of view, he is not the only Conservative political figure, but it seems to me perfectly legitimate that he should, in due course, have a chance to put his hat in the ring or, as he put it, pick up the ball if it comes loose from the scrum.”
Mr Johnson added that his son’s hopes of taking over the party leadership from David Cameron are “distant dreams”.
He added: “Whether or not he goes further, in the sense of leadership of the party, whether the Tories come into the next election and win it and later after that, who can tell? Who can tell?
“Those are distant dreams but, at the moment, he is where he is and he's doing a good job.”
Speaking in London today, Mr Johnson conceded that it was fair for Mair to quiz him over his "integrity" , saying that the BBC presenter had done a "splendid job" holding him to account.
"I fully concede it wasn't my most blistering performance, but that was basically because I was set to talk about the Olympics and housing in London and he wanted to talk about other things, some of them - my private life and so on - of quite some antiquity, the details of which I wasn't brilliant on," he said.