The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London has branded his Tory opponent a “clown” and questioned his suitability for the job.

Londoners will vote for their next Mayor on May 1st.

Henley MP Boris Johnson is the Conservative candidate.

Brian Paddick, formerly the most senior out gay policeman in the UK, is the Lib Dem candidate.

Incumbent Ken Livingstone is running again for the Labour party.

In an interview with website ePolitix.com Mr Paddick said “we need a serious ambassador for London to be our mayor – not a clown.”

He claimed that Tory party minders had been instructed to stop Mr Johnson from making gaffes and questioned his pledge not to drink for the duration of the campaign.

“What Londoners have got to realise is, four years is a hell of a long time for the mayor to be kept out of the media so he doesn’t make any gaffes, and for him to give up drink,” Mr Paddick said.

“We’re not talking about somebody who can behave appropriately for four months of a campaign, we’re talking about a mayor who can behave for four years in the interests of London. And quite clearly, Boris can’t do it.

“Clearly, Boris is under strict orders not to be himself and clearly once you have had a drink or two you tend to become more yourself than if you haven’t had a drink, you let your defences come down and the true you comes out.

“I am quite happy for people to see me after I have had a couple of glasses of wine, but clearly Boris’s minders are very concerned that he will revert to type after he’s had a couple of glasses of whatever his particular tipple is.”

A spokesman for the Johnson campaign said that he had decided to abstain from alcohol because of the 18-hour days he is working to get elected.

Mr Johnson told The Times:

“Londoners don’t want to hear this kind of politically correct psycho-twaddle.

“I am offering a positive campaign to oust Livingstone, restore security to our streets, buses and station platforms and deliver taxpayer value.”