Boris forced to flee angry Londoners

By Ian Dunt

Boris Johnson's attempt to take control of the situation in London went badly wrong today, after he was forced to walk away from crowds on the street.

The mayor, who returned from his holiday yesterday amid mounting criticism of his handling of the crisis, tried several times to speak to a crowd in Clapham but was shouted down by a crowd of local people.

In what is likely to be seen as a low point of his time in office, Mr Johnson faced chants of "how was your holiday, Boris?" as he tried to condemn the violence in the area last night.

Other shouted "how did you sleep last night" and "why are you here, three days late".

Mr Johnson's team will be particularly concerned that the crowd was made up of people helping to clean the area up and that their anger might reflect a sense that he has mismanaged the crisis from the start.

Other commentators suggested any member of the political class would have received a similar reaction, although David Cameron, who decided to come back holiday after Mr Johnson, received a far warmer reception during a tour of affected areas this afternoon.

After being booed and refused the chance to speak, Mr Johnson was led away from the crowd, with a man shouting at him that he did not understand the black community.