By Tim Montgomerie
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Sonia Purnell, his controversial and unauthorised biographer tells Guardian readers that his detractors "have been curiously muted until now" but, she hopes, that might be about to change.
Reflecting on the Mayor's Night-Mair interview the LibDem blogger Stephen Tall captured the general view that it will have hurt the man who was joint favourite to succeed David Cameron: "For most of the 10 minutes — and perhaps for the first time ever — Boris looked as if he would rather be anywhere else than beneath the glare of the TV lights. This was his reckoning, and he looked winded, lumbering like a past-his-prime former heavyweight champion. Only at the very end did we glimpse again the rambunctious front Boris likes to project, but by then it was too late."
Over on The Telegraph the Labour blogger Dan Hodges – always the contrarian – wonders what else is fair game if Boris' past personal life is fair game: "None of the questions about his integrity related to Boris Johnson’s duties as mayor. They were reheated tittle-tattle, most of which dates back quarter of a century… if Boris Johnson’s private life is in bounds, so is everyone else’s. If issues of personal integrity are of such importance, great. But let’s hear no more squealing when Ed Miliband is asked about knifing his brother. If something Johnson wrote in 1988 is of relevance, fair enough. But why the bleating about the scrutiny John O’Farrell received for something he wrote in 1998?"
Adam Bienkov, a regular critic of Boris Johnson, argues that London's Mayor is simply not used to scrutiny: "Boris's appearances are strictly controlled by his team. Regular mayoral press conferences were cancelled right at the start of Boris's time in office and are only very occasionally held now. Boris has refused countless invitations to appear on the London section of the Sunday Politics show and has only agreed to one interview with BBC London's political editor Tim Donovan in recent years. During the last mayoral election, BBC London were denied access to him and were not even sent press releases saying where he would be from day to day." Boris, he concludes, has "become soft".
I don't know if Boris has become soft but it's vital that he disappears into a locked room with his advisers for a few hours and engages in some US-style debate prep. He needs to list all of the tough questions that come from his past – however unfair he might think they are – and start working on answers to all of them. He should only re-emerge from that room when he and his advisers are confident that today's car crash won't be repeated. My friend Alex Smith certainly thinks things are recoverable for him. His advice on Twitter is good advice: