UK
01/10/2013 09:28 BST | Updated 01/10/2013 09:39 BST

Boris Johnson Sympathises With Jamie Oliver's Attack On 'Soft' British Youngsters

Mayor of London Boris Johnson delivers his speech to delegates on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central in Manchester.
PA
Mayor of London Boris Johnson delivers his speech to delegates on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central in Manchester.

Boris Johnson has risked the wrath of Tory supporters by sympathising with Jamie Oliver's attack on British workers.

The London Mayor said youngsters growing up in the capital needed to be more like Eastern Europeans and not dismiss jobs as "menial".

Oliver caused a row when he attacked "whinging" British youngsters, saying they were "wet" and that immigrants were "tougher".

And in his speech to the Conservative Conference in Manchester, Johnson suggested the Naked Chef may have had a point.

The reaction from delegates was less than enthusiastic as the London Mayor admitted: "I can see I am getting myself into trouble."

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Millions of British youngsters are as motivated and dynamic as their European counterparts, he said, bracing the audience for Oliver's remarks.

"But my question to you, is what if he has a point, half a point, or even a quarter of a point?"

He ploughed on, as the conference listened in silence: "He is onto something, he may have phrased it in a provocative way but he was saying something that I think resonates, right?"

He was eventually applauded when he said the solution could include the benefit cuts and school reforms being put in place by Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove.

It was a theme he returned to later in the speech, saying it was important that kids growing up in London "don't dismiss some jobs as, quote unquote, 'menial', and that they see them in the same way as Jamie Oliver's Eastern Europeans see those jobs...as a stepping stone to a life that can take them anywhere."

He added: "I've probably got myself as usual into trouble."