The Tory candidate, who scored a 12-point lead in a new poll, accused the senior BBC journalist of talking “fucking bollocks”.

He received a huge boost when the latest YouGov poll for the London Evening Standard put Johnson at 44 per cent, with Labour rival Ken Livingston taking 41 per cent and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick on 6 per cent.

But Johnson wasn’t laughing after he faced questions about attempts to secure commercial deals with News International while Scotland Yard was investigating allegations of phone hacking at the company.

Johnson asked News International to sponsor a cross-Thames cable car in East London, during his time as the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Read TNT’s interview with Boris and Ken – click here

A spokeswoman for Livingstone said the revelations raised “serious questions” and Johnson needed to “open the books and publish the email and other contact between him, News International and the Murdochs”.

Johnson told the BBC during the live lunchtime broadcast: “I don’t know of any discussions going on about that but what I can tell you is that I think it’s right to work with the private sector to get contributions that will be for the benefit of London.

“I’m very proud that over the last four years we’ve got more than £100million in sponsorship that I’ve raised for this city: £50million for the bikes, £36million for the cable car.

“You’ve got to get this on the air! Come on, this is the most important thing. Stuff Donovan and his fucking bollocks.”

This is the second time in the campaign that Johnson has been exposed for swearing – last month he called Livingstone a “fucking liar” after a radio debate over tax affairs.