Johnson gets grilling on dinners row

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Indy Politics

Boris Johnson has embarrassed the Tory leadership yet again after he appeared to criticise Jamie Oliver's campaign to improve the standard of school dinners.

David Cameron had praised the TV chef in his opening conference speech for leading calls to make school food more nutritious. But the Tories' higher education spokesman apparently contradicted his leader by saying the campaign put too much pressure on children to eat healthily.

Mr Johnson was mobbed by reporters after his latest gaffe and the episode provides an unwelcome distraction for his leader.

The row began after the BBC reported Mr Johnson telling a fringe meeting: "If I were in charge, I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and allow people to eat what they like."

Stressing he was not expressing official party policy, he added: "I would ban sweets from school - but this pressure to bring in healthy food is too much."

Last night Mr Johnson insisted: "I have been completely misquoted. Jamie Oliver is a national hero. The BBC are completely wrong. What I said was 'let them eat liver and bacon'."

Oliver's Channel 4 show, Jamie's School Dinners, showed the chef offering schoolchildren healthy alternatives to junk food. His campaign resulted in schools improving the quality of food they provided.