Boris in hot water for ‘up the Arcelor’ joke

Boris Johnson was criticised today for allegedly making a speech in which he joked that gay men would soon be able to take their partners "up the Arcelor".

The London mayor was confronted by the reports during his first radio phone-in show on LBC this morning.

He was reported to have used a speech in London two weeks ago to say he was delighted that "as of this autumn any man can take his chum up the Arcelor".

Asked about the incident this morning, he replied: "I did not say those words. I made a fantastic, well received speech.

"It was a speech celebrating gay pride and particularly focusing on the achievement of getting gay marriage on the agenda.

"I made what I thought was an amusing reference to marriage in the Olympic park."

Asked repeatedly what his original joke had been, the mayor refused to answer.

"I think you had to be there," he said.

A video uploaded to the website Vimeo and discovered by the Guido Fawkes website  shows the London mayor did not quite say the line, although the overall impression of the joke was accurate.

Elsewhere in the morning programme, the mayor appeared to hesitate over his pledge not to run for a third term.

"It's increasingly something I think about, I won't deny it, something I've even talked to friends about," he said.

Many Tory MPs are desperate for Johnson to challenge for the Tory leadership, either now or if David Cameron loses the 2015 general election, but a recent poll suggested it would make little difference to the public's voting intentions.