05/12/2011 09:00 GMT | Updated 05/12/2011 09:10 GMT

Boris Johnson: Jeremy Clarkson Is Helping Pay For The Public Sector

Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial Top Gear presenter, is single handidly propping up Britain's manufacturing industry, London Mayor Boris Johnson has claimed.

Clarkson is the "high priest of bogus automotive differentiation," but Johnson has warned if people "failed to heed the gospel of Clarkson, and failed to buy shiny new cars, then tens of thousands of people in manufacturing and other businesses would be at risk of losing their jobs."

Writing in his Daily Telegraph column today, the Mayor goes on to say Clarkson is: "The mastermind of the entire superstition that persuades people to trade in their indefatigable old bangers and spend their cash on a new car; and he is, of course, indispensable to the economy and to the livelihoods of some of the poorest and hardest-working people in the country."

"In that respect Clarkson is not only the king of automotive consumerism; he is helping to pay for the public sector.

"By goading the nation to lust after new machines, he helps to keep the motor of the economy turning, and if he didn't exist I am afraid we would have to invent him."

Last week Clarkson caused outrage when he joked that public sector workers should be shot for walking out over changes to their pensions.

He then lurched onto another controversy when he said people who committed suicide by throwing themselves under trains were "selfish".

Boris had came to the defence of Clarkson during a radio appearance, arguing that while he did not necessarily agree with Clarkson's language he supported the sentiments.

"What he was trying to say was, look in tough times, when you've got a real need for pension reform, is it really necessary to try to paralyse the country and stop vital services? I think that was the point," he told LBC.