Boris Johnson has boosted his reputation for eccentricity with a demand for Russian president Vladimir Putin to perform half-naked at the Olympic Games.
The London mayor made the comments amid soaring poll ratings, which suggest he would slash Labour’s lead if made Conservative leader.
Asked about David Cameron’s judo-watching meeting with Putin, Johnson replied, “I hope he will take part — isn’t he a dab hand? I think that’s what people want to see — stripped to the waist.”
He added, “We want the politicians’ Olympics, that’s what we want.” The dubious comments come just a day after Johnson was stuck up a zipline above Victoria park, in an image which has now gone viral online.
Black-belted Vladimir Putin will lock horns with British PM David Cameron over Syria and a crackdown on opponents including the trial of punk band Pussy Riot in a day of judo diplomacy at the Olympics.
Prime Minister Cameron will try to push the former KGB spy to take a tougher line on Syria, Russia’s firmest foothold in the Middle East, and stop blocking Western-backed resolutions aimed at stepping up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia’s 59-year-old president is also likely to face questions about an intensifying Kremlin campaign to silence dissent after members of a women’s punk band went on trial and a prominent opposition blogger was charged with embezzlement.