Boris Johnson warned viewers that Ed Miliband would ‘do more damage to this country than he did to his brother’ in a furious confrontation with the Labour leader on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Interviewed separately by Marr, the pair were brought together at the end of the programme, and it resulted in a bitter slanging match – or verbal whiff-whaff, as Boris might say.
The Mayor of London was riled by Mr Miliband’s accusations that the Tories are supporting ‘state-sponsored tax avoidance’ after opposing Labour’s plans to abolish non-dom tax status.
Mr Johnson remarked: “I’m not saying your brother would present himself at A&E with a dagger in his back, but he [Ed Miliband] would do more damage to this country than he did to his brother.”
Recent Conservative attacks on the Miliband family have been widely criticised, even by some inside the party, and the Labour leader seemed happy to encourage Mr Johnson’s anger.
“Don’t get rattled Boris, come on,” he said, before suggesting the insults were ordered by the Tories campaign strategist. “Lynton Crosby is putting him up to it. Come on, you’re better than that. If you’re going to become leader of the Tory party you should get rid of him.”
The acrimony continued as Mr Johnson informed the audience that he and Mr Miliband attended the same primary school – “a fact you won’t hear Ed Miliband admitting very often.”
The Labour leader responded by saying: “Not the same secondary school though.” It was a reference to the mayor’s time at Eton College, a notoriously elite private school where both David Cameron and George Osborne were pupils.
The animosity is a sign that the election battle is tighter than ever as May’s vote draws closer. And as Andrew Marr cheekily put it: “This is a premonition of things to come.” Although Mr Johnson was quick to dismiss claims that he would soon be leader of the Conservative Party as ‘nonsense’.
Here’s a short clip from the show: