Boris Johnson gives as good as he gets during Bristol heckling

The mayor was on a tour of Bristol to show his support the Conservative candidates running in the city's mayoral and Police Crime Commissioner elections next month.

Mr Johnson is used to charming the public and often gets an enthusiastic reception, but a group of protesters who were less than thrilled by his arrival jeered "Tory scum" and "pleb".

Seemingly undeterred, the mayor gave as good as he got, urging the apparently divided group to "stick together" because he didn't want to "see a crusty civil war breaking out".

One man then thumbed his nose at the mayor, who retorted by making the same gesture.

Boris Johnson backs London Poppy Day appeal, 007 style

The Mayor of London looked windswept but relaxed as he sped along the Thames on a motor boat before being winched aboard HMS Severn.

Mr Johnson admitted to having been rather nervous about the adventurous stunt, but said that, in the event, he had found it rather less stressful than expected: "If anything, in my view, the boat could have gone even faster."

He was there to launch the largest-ever London Poppy Day which, he said, would be the perfect forum for the public to show their support and gratitude for "the amazing professionalism of our armed services".

"I think people saw that during the

Newspapers are worth fighting for – even when they’re wrong

You can’t “strike journalists off”, as if they were accountants or lawyers or gynaecologists. They aren’t a profession: they are a great pulsating rabble of people who are distinguished only by our desire – I will not say our ability – to write any old thing for any kind of ephemeral publication. Anyone can be a journalist. You just have to start a blog, break a few stories, and bingo, you are a household name.

Indeed, it seems incredible that we are proposing new regulation for the traditional forms of media just when they are facing the biggest threat to print since Gutenberg. I have it on good authority that they had a brainstorming session at the Guardian the other day, and discussed the possibility of axing the print version altogether. There is apparently a well-advanced plan to stop the presses, spare the trees and go completely online, within the next two years.

This story has now been officially denied by the Guardian politburo – a move that of course adds nothing but credence to the plot. Let me be clear about me and the Guardian. I don’t think they have ever supported anything I have said or done. When I was standing against Ken Livingstone, they did a special supplement in which various members of the Lefty great and the good were invited to say what a prat/plonker/berk/buffoon I was. Many of them vowed to leave London if I were elected (a promise, sadly, they have not kept).

In spite of this strange hostility, I say to my Guardian friends: don’t do it. It would be a national tragedy if we lost the paper version – the wood-pulp and ink version – of this historic publication. It’s no use telling us that the content would all be there “online”. Everything is online, a great charnel-house of porn and piffle. We need the Guardian lowering at us from the news-stands in all its highmindedness; we need to see people nodding over it gently on the Tube.

Take it online and you lose all political impact; you lose the vital editorial marshalling of the often excellent journalists and cartoonists and photographers into a single daily statement, a single product – and everything gets lost in the morass of Google news. We will always need a real and not a virtual Guardian.

Guilt-ridden Lefties will need it to swat the mosquitoes in Tuscany, or to light the wood-burning stoves in their second homes, or to line the tuck boxes of their little ones as they guiltily pack them off – like dear Polly Toynbee – to their fee-paying schools. And it would be a calamity for us Conservatives if we no longer knew what the enemy was thinking. We need a paper that is genuinely, viscerally hostile to anything that looks remotely like a spirit of enterprise and competition. We need a paper that believes capitalism is fundamentally flawed; that wishes fewer people had jobs in financial services; that thinks the euro was and still is a jolly fine idea; that dislikes the ideology of home ownership (except for Guardian journalists, who are allowed to have more than one); that dislikes anything “elitist” (except for the schools attended by the children of Guardian journalists).

We need a paper that believes the answer to all problems is more tax and more regulation. We need to have the enemy in plain view, on the table, in the shops – not skulking online. We need to know what not to think. So I appeal now to all Conservatives and indeed anyone interested in preserving our national heritage. Even if we only have a few hundred copies left, let us keep the Guardian’s print edition – displayed in town halls, perhaps, like the People’s Daily. Never mind the badger. Save the Guardian from extinction!

Don’t honour a Brussels office block – give the Nobel to Maggie

Yes, instead of giving the prize to a clutch of ugly plate-glass office blocks in Brussels, the Nobel committee should have awarded it to Margaret Hilda Thatcher.

To understand why Baroness Thatcher deserves the Nobel prize for peace in Europe, you only have to think about the absurdity of giving the gong to the EU. It wasn’t the Common Market that brought peace to Europe in 1945. I am afraid it was a series of other institutions: the Red Army, the US Marines, the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. They genuinely helped to pacify the continent, though you wouldn’t think of nominating them for a peace prize.

It wasn’t as if the EU was the body that helped to keep the peace during the Cold War. Most people would agree that was the work of Nato, and the threat of retaliation against Soviet aggression.

It wasn’t the EU that went toe to toe with Russia over the stationing of Soviet missiles in Europe. It was Reagan and Thatcher. It was her ideas of free market democracy that inspired the peoples and politicians of Eastern Europe – and in some cases still do. Why not honour her, rather than a bureaucracy?

And look at where that EU machine is taking us now. The catastrophic programme for monetary union is continuing to impoverish the people of Greece and much of southern Europe. When the German chancellor paid a visit last week, to inspect the effects of the EU-imposed austerity measures, they had to protect Angela Merkel with 7,000 police – the largest such operation in history, and still there were protesters dressing up as Nazis.

In Spain, there are now thousands of young people fleeing for a better life in Latin America. The whole European economy is being held back by the fear that the euro will break up, when the ghastly truth is that a break-up is probably the best hope of salvation.

The solution on offer is more economic integration – a solution that is apparently supported by the British government – when that process of fiscal union will mean a hollowing out of democracy.

The reason the Greeks are turning out dressed as Nazis is that they feel as trampled on and as humiliated as they did when the swastika flew over the Parthenon. We are now proposing to give formal control of eurozone tax and spending policies to the EU institutions – a shorthand for German control. Far from ending tensions between EU countries, the euro project is now massively increasing them.

It is often said that two democracies have never been to war with one another. But when you make a mockery of democracy, and effectively hand tax and spending decisions to a foreign power, then you are creating the conditions for serious mischief. Vince Cable yesterday warned of “absolutely incalculable” consequences if the eurozone should rupture – but what does he think is happening now? We are already seeing neo-fascist parties in Athens and the agony of Greece is unabated.

All this Baroness Thatcher foresaw. She warned in her 1988 Bruges speech of the dangers of trying to create Identikit Europeans, when the peoples of EU nations were so different in their habits and productivity. She warned of a one-size-fits-all monetary policy and she spoke out strongly against the lack of democracy in the project. She has been completely vindicated.

According to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the Nobel prize is for all of us, in the sense that it is directed at all 500 million European citizens. Well, on behalf of millions of us, I suggest we turn down this meaningless award for an institution that has got things so badly wrong, and insist that it be handed instead to a woman who got it overwhelmingly right. Thatcher, not the EU, understood the route to peace in Europe.

Third Heathrow runway could triple pollution deaths

"On a nationwide basis, early deaths due to UK airport emissions decrease by a quarter relative to an unexpanded Heathrow," they wrote in the report by MIT's Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, which looked at pollution emissions at the top 20 UK airports.

"In other words, airport capacity would be expanded and health impacts reduced under the Thames Hub scenario."

Nationwide, the number of deaths linked to aviation pollution at current capacity will rise from 110 annually today to 250 in 2030, the report says.

A third runway at Heathrow would add a further 10 deaths a year because of an expected reduction in pollution at other airports, which will lose flights to the new, expanded hub.

MIT said a full academic paper on the subject had been accepted for publication in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said on Saturday: "The Mayor's team are keen to examine this latest research, which potentially adds further weight to why the Government should rule out now the possibility of expansion at Heathrow.

"There are clear environmental benefits from meeting the increasing demand for aviation at a hub airport located to the east of London, rather than the madness of expanding an airport that is already constrained by location, straining at the seams and in the heart of the western suburbs of London.

"The right thing for the Government to do is to return to the pledges it was elected on and rule out Heathrow expansion before the Davies Commission starts its work."

Mr Johnson repeated his call for a new "Boris Island" airport to the south-east of the city at the Conservative Party Conference last week.

He said: "We are not taking the decisive action that we need to make ourselves competitive with other European countries, with Dubai, with all these competitors of ours that are putting on new runways."

Expanding Heathrow during the current parliament was ruled out in the coalition agreement in 2010.

The Government has appointed former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies to lead an independent commission into airport capacity needs.

But his final report is not due until summer 2015 – after the next general election.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Maintaining the UK's status as a leading aviation hub is vital to our economy. This is why we have set up an independent commission to look at all the options, which will naturally include an assessment of the environmental and social impacts of any proposal."

A Heathrow spokesman said: "The issue of air pollution is one faced by all major cities across the world.

Aviation is a far smaller contributor to air pollution than road traffic, however we are already taking significant steps to tackle the problem. For example, we subsidise local public transport so people can travel for free without the need for a car.

"We also charge airlines based on how green they are – so the cleanest aircraft are charged less to land at Heathrow."

Boris Johnson tells David Cameron to cut top rate of tax

He accepted that Mr Cameron, under political attack from Labour for getting rid of the 50p rate, would not appreciate his public call for another tax rate.

“It’s a difficult time, and I accept that people won’t like to hear it, but it’s the kind of point that you’ve got to make as Mayor of London which isn’t necessarily welcome in No 10,” Mr Johnson said.

It was the second time during the conference the mayor has openly differed with the Prime Minister, having earlier this week backed a return to academic selection in state school entry.

Mr Johnson is regarded by some Conservative MPs as a potential leader of the party, but would have to return to the Commons in order to take the post.

He insisted that he will not seek election as an MP before his mayoral term ends in 2016

But he repeatedly refused to rule out seeking a Commons seat after that, saying: “By that stage, it’s really very difficult to say what I’ll be doing ... that is an awful long time in politics.”

Mr Johnson was interviewed after his main conference speech, in which he poked fun at Mr Cameron but backed the Prime Minister to lead Britain to economic recovery and win the next general election.

Mr Cameron was in the hall to hear Mr Johnson praise his economic leadership.

“I know that David Cameron will win in 2015, when the economy has turned around and people are benefiting in jobs and growth from the firm leadership and the tough decisions you have taken,” Mr Johnson said.

Ministers including Kenneth Clarke have said Mr Johnson should “calm down” and try to end speculation about his future.

Mr Johnson said he agreed, adding that he wanted to focus on his work in London. “Actually I would welcome the spotlight moving away,” he said.

Still, his call for a tax cut will only reinforce his appeal to free-market Conservatives. The mayor’s suggestion was echoed by Lord Forsyth, a former Cabinet minister.

Lord Forsyth, who once advised George Osborne on tax policy, said that the Chancellor has failed to cut and simplify taxes since taking office.

“He’s complicated the system and he hasn’t taken the action which is necessary to broaden the tax base and lower it,” the peer said.

“Cutting the top rate to 40 per cent “would mean more money and therefore less pressure on lower-paid people”, he said.

Boris Johnson: ‘If I am a mop then, Dave, you are a broom’

"I congratulate you and your colleagues George Osborne the dustpan, Michael Gove the J-cloth, William Hague the sponge. It is the historic function of Conservative governments over the last 100 years to be the household implements on the floor of the house, so effective at clearing up after the Labour binge has got out of control."

Boris Johnson endorses David Cameron amid leadership speculation

Boris Johnson appeared to dampen down speculation about his potential to be a future Tory leader with a resounding endorsement of David Cameron's government.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday night, Mr Johnson said believed the George Osborne and David Cameron were doing what was necessary for the country and that they deserved the backing on the Tory faithful.

"I believe that in tough circumstances he, George Osborne, the rest of the government are doing exactly what is needed for this country and to clear up the mess that Labour left".

He also said the Prime Minister "could deliver" through the rest of this parliament and beyond.

Conservative Party Conference 2012: Boris Johnson backs David Cameron

Boris Johnson appeared to dampen down speculation about his potential to be a future Tory leader with a resounding endorsement of David Cameron's government.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday night, Mr Johnson said believed the George Osborne and David Cameron were doing what was necessary for the country and that they deserved the backing on the Tory faithful.

"I believe that in tough circumstances he, George Osborne, the rest of the government are doing exactly what is needed for this country and to clear up the mess that Labour left".

He also said the Prime Minister "could deliver" through the rest of this parliament and beyond.

Boris Johnson backs David Cameron

Boris Johnson appeared to dampen down speculation about his potential to be a future Tory leader with a resounding endorsement of David Cameron's government.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday night, Mr Johnson said believed the George Osborne and David Cameron were doing what was necessary for the country and that they deserved the backing on the Tory faithful.

"I believe that in tough circumstances he, George Osborne, the rest of the government are doing exactly what is needed for this country and to clear up the mess that Labour left".

He also said the Prime Minister "could deliver" through the rest of this parliament and beyond.