The mayor of London warned that City Hall was at risk of being “recaptured by a bunch of semi-reformed Trotskyist, car-hating, Hugo Chávez idolising, newt fancying, tax-dodging, bank-bashing hypocrites and bendy-bus fetishists.”
He called Livingstone a hypocrite after it emerged the Labour candidate, a critic of tax avoidance, had been paid, legally, through a company instead of being taxed at source.
Addressing the Conservative party spring forum, Johnson launched a defence of City workers, telling activists there were 600,000 employees who depended on the financial sector in London, many on “modest” incomes.
“It’s about time we stopped abusing them,” he said.
Setting out his election blueprint, he said: “I feel like a man who has built half a bridge, or half a cable car – a massive, privately sponsored cable car. I can see the other side. I can see what needs to be done.”
He unveiled his nine-point plan for re-election, which includes council tax freezes, job creation, putting more police on the beat and cutting tube delays.
He also pledged to secure a better deal for London from No 10, something that has already seen the mayor cross swords with Downing Street.
Earlier, David Cameron urged party members to help get Johnson re-elected.
He said: “He’s defended the economic interests of London at every turn – believe me, I know. He’s a brilliant mayor of the best city on earth so let’s make sure that Boris gets another term.
“And to anyone wondering about the best thing to say on the doorstep, I give you just two words Ken Livingstone. We cannot let that man back running our capital city again.”
Johnson’s campaign comes as Livingstone, the former Labour mayor who is vying to take back the job, launched his “fare deal” pledging to cut fares by 7% by 7 October.
A campaign spokesman said: “Ken’s fare deal fare cut is clearly shown to be the most popular policy in the election. As we enter the next phase of the campaign Ken will take his red soapbox with his fare deal message to town centres all over London, starting in the battleground of Havering.”