London’s two leading Mayoral candidates clashed on and off air this morning, resulting in Boris Johnson reportedly calling rival Ken Livingstone “a fucking liar”.
Earlier the pair took part in an LBC radio debate which also included Green Party candidate and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick.
During the show they clashed over claims made by Livingstone that Johnson had previously had TV earnings paid into a limited company.
Last month the Telegraph revealed that the former Mayor uses such an arrangement for his earnings from media and speaking engagements.
By doing so any receipts are not classed as personal income and so do not attract income tax until Mr Livingstone draws them as a salary. Any profits made by the company are subject to corporation tax.
Mr Livingstone, an outspoken critic of tax avoidance, has previously defended the arrangements, which are legal, saying he uses some of the money to pay for staff and that “no-one pays income tax on the money they use to pay other people’s wages”.
After the LBC debate witnesses say the pair came “nose to nose” with the Mayor denouncing his predecessor three times as “a fucking liar”.
A spokesperson for Ken Livingstone claimed Mr Johnson “lost his temper because he lost the debate – he talked about cable cars not cutting fares and the squeeze on Londoners.”
Mr Johnson’s campaign have been asked to comment on the row.
In a statement released as the programme ended, Mr Johnson said: ‘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.”
Candidates for Mayor include Jenny Jones (Green party), Ken Livingstone (Labour), Lawrence Webb (UKIP) and Boris Johnson (Conservative). A full list of candidates can be found here.