Senior Tory hits back at Boris claims

BORIS Johnson was last night on the receiving end of a rebuke from a top minister after the Mayor called on the government to “stop pussyfooting around” and invest in London’s infrastructure.

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said “Boris is wrong” to say the government was not doing enough to stimulate growth. “The Prime Minister and the chancellor do not sit there twiddling their thumbs,” he told BBC’s Newsnight.

Johnson had used an interview with the Evening Standard to call on the government to back his plans for airport expansion, blaming “inertia” for the lack of progress on this and other economic growth measures.

“It’s alright for Boris and others to say ‘get on and do it’,” Duncan Smith said of forthcoming reforms to jobs market. “But this has to be done in the context of what’s good for the economy and still allow us to develop people in work rather than harming them.”

Johnson’s contrary stance revived speculation that he is positioning himself for a future run for the Conservative party leadership. His cause was boosted by yesterday’s Ipsos Mori poll that revealed two-thirds of British adults have adopted a more positive view of the Mayor following the Olympics.