BORIS Johnson yesterday hit back at New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, accusing him of trying to pinch London-based Barclays bank.

Johnson said it would be a “tragedy” if London were to lose Barclays, and pointed out the bank had shown its commitment to the capital by sponsoring his flagship “Boris bike” cycle hire scheme.

“This underlines the fact that the threat and challenge to our successful financial services sector is real,” Johnson said.

He was responding to comments from Bloomberg, who on Wednesday called on Barclays bank to move its headquarters to the Big Apple, saying it would be a “great move for them”.