‘I thought you were being prime ministerial’: Boris’ nightmare week continues

Boris Johnson was subject to another harsh attack on his personality today, as London Assembly members tried to replicate yesterday's savaging of the mayor on the BBC.

The former Henley MP appeared confused and irritated yesterday when BBC presenter Eddie Mair took him to task over historic allegations of plagiarism, lying and conspiring to have someone assaulted.

The altercation at mayoral question time began when Johnson accused the chair of addressing a particular topic to save the embarrassment of one of the Assembly members.

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Watch: Boris Johnson struggles in harsh TV interview

"I'm not going to take lessons from you about behaviour or chairing a meeting," chairman Jennette Arnold said.

"And there I was thinking you were trying to be prime ministerial."

Johnson replied: "I was trying to self-deprecate. Can I thank you for knocking that on the head?"

Minutes later, Johnson was told he spent too much time referencing the failures of Ken Livingstone's period in City Hall.

"You should worry about your record and the not the one of the previous administration," an Assembly member suggested.

Asked about the interview earlier, prime minister David Cameron smiled and said: "Never underestimate Boris' ability to get out of a tight spot."

Boris tried to make light of the weekend interview this morning, saying: "Fair play to Eddie Mair, he landed a good one. If the BBC can't bash Tory politicians then what is the point of BBC?

"Eddie Mair did a splendid job. There is no doubt that is what the BBC is for – holding us to account.

"I should think he'll get an Oscar. It was an Oscar-winning performance. I think he'll get a Pullitzer [Prize]."

But yesterday's grilling revealed a side to Johnson's personality that may have made some of his supporters for Tory leader think twice.

Under a form of harsh scrutiny he rarely faces, the London mayor appeared startled and hesitant and was unable to dodge questions using his normal humour and fast talking.

The Guardian led on the interview, branding it a "car crash" and "the worst interview the mayor has ever conducted".

The Times was similarly scathing, saying the mayor was forced to "squirm".

Speaking on LBC this morning, Johnson's dad, Stanley, appeared to take the interview much more personally than his son.

"I thought Eddie Mair's interview was about the most disgusting piece of journalism I’ve listened to for a very long time," he 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."