Boris Johnson has been savaged by a Tory media grandee within hours of seducing the Conservative party faithful in scenes of 'Boris-mania' at the conference in Birmingham.
Influential press pundit Max Hastings slammed the mayor of London in the pages of Middle England bible the Daily Mail.
Described as a ruthless egomaniac with "no integrity", an "out-of-control libido" and a propensity to veer from the truth when discussing his prime ministerial ambitions, Britain's most popular politician was mauled by Hastings. The columnist added that Johnson "could not be trusted with wives or wallets".
Hastings' demolition job came in stark contrast to the Boris fever which had gripped the Conservative conference.
Johnson delivered an easy-on-the-ear speech to delegates, praising David Cameron and predicting victory at the 2015 general election.
But Hastings stormed: 'If the mayor of London is the answer, there is something desperately wrong with the question.
"If the day ever comes that Boris Johnson becomes a tenant of Downing Street, I shall be among those packing my bags for a new life in Buenos Aires or suchlike because it means that Britain has abandoned its last pretensions to be a serious country.
"The mayor of London's shambolic image is accurate and it masks a ruthless streak sharply at odds with a carefully crafted public demeanour," claimed Hastings.
"His chaotic public persona is not an act - he is, indeed, manically disorganised about everything except his own image management. He is also a far more ruthless, and frankly nastier, figure than the public appreciates."
He went on to claim that Johnson pulled strings when adverse publicity appeared.
"When one of his many sexual affairs was exposed and much trumpeted in the headlines, he phoned a friend of mine who was then running one of Britain's largest media organisation," recounted Hastings.
"'It's utterly disgraceful what your reporters are doing onscreen about my private life,' spluttered Boris. 'It's time you realised that I know all about your private life. If your organisation goes on reporting my affairs like this, you'll be reading all about yours in The Spectator'" - the magazine that Johnson edited at the time.
"My friend responded: 'Stop a minute, Boris, and think about what you just said. There is a word for it, and it is not a pretty one - blackmail'.
"Johnson waffled away, muttering that he had never really meant it. But he is much given to making threats, bearing grudges and behaving with malice aforethought."
In another putdown, Hastings branded Johnson an X Factor politician, the perfect performer for a vacuous popular culture.
"I sat at a dinner table last week with three teenagers who expressed near-hero worship for the mayor and said they could not care less when I suggested that he has less integrity than a City banker," said Hastings.
"We no longer look for dignity, gravitas, decency or seriousness of purpose in our leaders in any field. We demand only stardust, a jolly turn in front of Simon Cowell or on Strictly Come Dancing.
"I knew quite a few of the generation of British politicians who started their careers in 1945 - the likes of Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey, Edward Heath, Enoch Powell, Iain Macleod.
"The common denominator among them all, whatever their party, was that they entered politics passionately, believing they could change things. They were serious people.
"It does not matter whether they were wrong or right - almost all of them had real beliefs.
"He is not a man to believe in, to trust or respect save as a superlative exhibitionist. He is bereft of judgment, loyalty and discretion."
Johnson has consistently denied he wants to take Cameron's place at No10, but rumours persist.
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