Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Spotlight
  2. Elections
3 April 2012

Boris erupts at Ken

"You're a fucking liar," Johnson tells Livingstone after exchange on tax avoidance.

By George Eaton

Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone’s relationship appears to have reached a new level of fractiousness. The Guardian’s Hélène Mulholland reports that “Boris went nose to nose with Ken in a small lift and told Ken three times: “You’re a fucking liar, you’re a fucking liar, you’re a fucking liar.”

The mayor’s outburst, since confirmed by Livingstone’s team, was prompted by an exchange on tax avoidance during the LBC hustings. Livingstone alleged that Johnson, like him, had set up a company called “Finland Station” to channel his income payments, a claim the mayor flatly denied.

Here’s the statement Team Johnson has issued:

My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channelled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.