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Influential Britons view Boris Johnson far more positively than the leaders of the three main political parties, according to a new YouGov poll.
The findings come from a monthly survey of UK opinion formers, drawn from politics, business, media, academia, non-governmental organisations and the public sector.
Boris Johnson said journalists "cannot be too hard on politicians" following criticism that broadcaster Eddie Mair was too hard on him during an interview on The Andrew Marr Show:
Boris Johnson said broadcaster Eddie Mair had done a "splendid job" during an interview in which the Mayor of London was grilled over his "integrity" and called a "nasty piece of work" .
Mr Johnson said today, "Eddie Mair did a splendid job. There is no doubt that is what the BBC is for - holding us to account".
"I fully concede it wasn't my most blistering performance, but that was basically because I was set to talk about the Olympics and housing in London and he wanted to talk about other things, some of the, my private life and so on, of quite some antiquity, the details of which I wasn't brilliant on".
"He was perfectly within his rights to have a bash at me - in fact it would have been shocking if he hadn't. If a BBC presenter can't attack a nasty Tory politician, what's the world coming to?" Mr Johnson continued.
Asked whether Mr Mair should be given Jeremy Paxman's lead anchor role on Newsnight, he added, "I should think he'll get an Oscar, it was an Oscar-winning performance. I think he'll get a Pullitzer."
A BBC interview during which Boris Johnson was accused of being a "nasty piece of work" has been branded a "disgusting piece of journalism" by the London Mayor's father.
Stanley Johnson said he "felt great anger" towards broadcaster Eddie Mair - who was hosting the Andrew Marr Show yesterday - for the way he treated his son during the interview.
Mr Johnson said his son had been openly abused on the programme and claimed the BBC had "sank about as low as it could".
"I thought Eddie Mair's interview was about the most disgusting piece of journalism I've listened to for a very long time", he told Nick Ferrari on LBC 97.3.
"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", he continued.
"He [Mr Mair] dug up totally irrelevant things, totally irrelevant, which had been dealt with ages and ages ago and as soon as Boris wanted to explain them, he moved on ... If you don't respect the man, at least you should respect the office", the Mayor's father added.
Max Hastings, a former editor of Boris Johnson during his time as a journalist, has described the Mayor of London as "utterly chaotic".
Interviewed for a documentary about Johnson, to be screened by the BBC tomorrow night, Hastings said: "Supposing he became Prime Minister, the idea of Boris Johnson's finger on the nuclear button ... one day he would get it mixed up with the one to call the maid"
Boris Johnson looked visibly uncomfortable this morning when asked to elaborate on his recent comments that he would like to be Prime Minister.
The Mayor of London, who refused to reiterate that attaining control of Britain's top political office was his ambition, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "It's not going to happen."
Latest ITV News reports
Did Eddie Mair overstep the line when he suggested Boris Johnson was a 'nasty piece or work,' or was he continuing a noble tradition?