Video: 'You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?': Boris Johnson mauled during car crash interview
BORIS Johnson looked visibly uncomfortable in a car crash interview this morning during which he was forced to deny being a “nasty piece of work” and attempted to skirt around questions about his private life.
The BBC’s Eddie Mair, standing in for Andrew Marr on his Sunday morning show, grilled the Mayor of London on his sacking from The Times more than two decades ago for making up a quote.
“I mildly sandpapered something someone had said. It is very embarrassing, and I am very sorry about it,” Mr Johnson said.
He was then pressed on his resignation as shadow arts minister in 2004. Mr Mair asked whether he lied to Tory leader Michael Howard about allegations of an extra-marital affair.
“I never had any conversation with Michael Howard about that matter,” the Mayor replied. “I do not propose to go into all that again. Why should I? I’ve been through it a lot. Why don't we talk about something else?”
Mr Mair went on to discuss a 1990 telephone conversation Mr Johnson had with one of his friends who was demanding the private address of a News of the World journalist.
A recording of the call suggested Mr Johnson had agreed to supply the details, even though his friend indicated he wanted to have the reporter beaten up for smearing his family.
Mr Johnson stressed today that “nothing eventuated” from the conversation, adding: “I think if any of us had our phone conversations bugged people say all sorts of fantastical things whilst talking to their friends.”
Mr Mair said: “You are a nasty piece of work, aren't you?” prompting Mr Johnson to say the journalist’s interpretations of the incidents were “not wholly fair”.
The toe-curling broadcast also saw Mr Johnson discuss his alleged ambitions to become Prime Minister. “What I want is for David Cameron to win this election which he deserves to do,” he said. “In these circumstances it is completely nonsensical for me to indulge this increasingly hysterical conversation.”
He complained that he had appeared on the show to talk about the Budget and London’s housing situation, and “all these questions about other stuff” simply demonstrated the “trivialisation of politics”.
On Monday evening, the Tory politician will feature in a new BBC Two documentary, Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise.
He said he had been effectively “blackmailed” into making an appearance by the journalist Michael Cockerell.
“It is like when the News of the World ring up and they say listen, you are going to be in this story. You can either cooperate or not cooperate,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to “leave the field clear to put the boot in.”
When asked whether he would tune in at 9pm to watch tomorrow’s documentary, Mr Johnson said: “I’m certainly not, not after what you have told me. I am not going to watch it.”
Independent News Service