Mayor 'should challenge one leader'

Hampshire Chronicle: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says Boris Johnson is annoyed with him about his criticism of the mayor's comments linking IQ and poverty Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says Boris Johnson is annoyed with him about his criticism of the mayor's comments linking IQ and poverty

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has shrugged off a verbal assault by London mayor Boris Johnson who branded him a "lapdog of David Cameron" and a "radio disc jockey" and described his role in the Government as "decorative".

Mr Johnson unleashed his attack at a Westminster lunch earlier this week, telling reporters that the Liberal Democrat leader is holding the Government back from "sensible" policies, declaring: "The sooner we are shot of the great yellow albatross the better."

Mr Clegg said Johnson should "focus on challenging one party leader at a time", in a barely veiled reference to the widely held belief that the mayor has his eye on David Cameron's job.

He put the outburst down to the mayor being "upset" with him for criticising a speech in which Mr Johnson discussed the impact of low IQs on individuals' chances in life.

Speaking on his Call Clegg phone-in show on LBC 97.3 radio, the Deputy Prime Minister said: "Good old Boris. I think he needs to focus on challenging one party leader at a time.

"I'm slightly lost. Am I an albatross, a DJ, a Rottweiler stopping things or a lapdog allowing things? It's all very confusing.

"I think Boris is a little bit upset that I disagree, as I do very strongly, with his rather patronising remarks about people having low IQ.

"At the end of the day, he is a Tory politician who doesn't like Liberal Democrats in government. Hardly a big deal."

The two men have taken pot-shots at one another in the past, with Mr Clegg branding the mayor a "slacker" for only hosting a monthly radio phone-in, while he does it every week, prompting Mr Johnson to retort that the Liberal Democrat leader was an "idle bum" with only a "ceremonial" role in government.

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