Boris Johnson tells Cameron to ‘go for growth’ to harness Olympic legacy

“They need to go further,” Mr Johnson said of the Government. “They need a series of supply-side reforms. London really can be the motor of our economic recovery.”

The Mayor’s words echo the concerns of other leading lights of the Conservative Party. Many of the party’s Right wing – including Liam Fox, the former defence secretary – feel that the chancellor, George Osborne, and his fellow ministers are failing to deliver the business-friendly policies vital to power our debt-laden economy out of recession.

The Institute of Directors, a leading business lobby group has also attacked the “glacial speed” of Coalition’s reforms designed to encourage firms to hire and invest.

It is a claim denied by Coalition ministers including William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, who has argued that the Government has done a great deal to help the economy and that it’s up to businesses and individuals to get out there and make the recovery happen.

Stung by criticism that Government is not doing enough on growth, ministers are drawing up an economic regeneration bill for the autumn that will outline a range of new infrastructure projects and measures to cut business red tape.

Sorting out the congestion above London’s skies is a priority, the Mayor said.

“We need a new airport – whether it is in the Thames estuary or wherever, I don’t care. But we need to address that problem. An extra runway at Heathrow alone won’t do it – it would be full in a flash.”

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, was supposed to publish a new consultation document setting out the Government’s aviation strategy by mid-July, but this has been shelved until the autumn.

The delays are infuriating many in the business community keen to land deals in fast-growing emerging markets.

Mr Johnson also wants more river crossings in London, extra money to extend to tube lines and “Crossrail II”. The first of these new underground railways running beneath London is set to be completed in 2017.

As soon as the first Crossrail opens he wants work to begin on a second new line, running between Chelsea in the west and Hackney in the east.

The Mayor said more needs to be done and quickly to streamline Britain’s planning system to pave the way for a housing boom.

Earlier this year the Government published its National Planning Policy Framework which aimed to make it is easier for developers to build houses, but official figures suggest house building remains subdued.

“We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes. If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers and get the construction sector going again it will start to drive the economy.”

There is already a serious housing shortage in parts of London, but this situation could become acute by the next decade when London is expected to surpass New York as the world city with the highest population.

“London’s population is going to reach 9 million in the next decade,” he said. “People should not be paranoid about this – we are only now getting up to the levels reached in 1939 or 1911. There is room for great regeneration in the east.”

However, there needs to be jobs for this burgeoning population and the Mayor also insisted the Coalition must do more to make it easier for firms to hire and fire, especially for businesses with five workers or less.

Many on the Right of the Conservative Party remain dismayed that the Government failed to implement many bold recommendations made by the financier Adrian Beecroft in a Downing Street report on employment law reform.

In the last few weeks around 4,000 businessmen, foreign officials and other potential investors have shuffled into the Mayor’s Thameside offices where he has sold rundown parts of the capital – including Battersea Power Station, Brent Cross, Croydon and Tottenham – as lucrative investment opportunities.

The digital businesses Facebook and Amazon are set to create new jobs in the capital over the coming months, but only time will tell if more follow.

The critics may have fallen silent while Team GB was winning gold medals, but once the games end tonight the questions about their legacy will begin.

The futures of two of the Olympic Park’s venues – including the stadium – remain undecided.

Mr Johnson was typically bullish about the prospect of future Olympic champions learning their skills in the aquatic centre. Again, only time will tell if these grand building remain largely unused in the future.

Mr Johnson also spoke vigorously about the army of “games makers”, thousands of volunteers who have sprung to life across the City.

He sees these people as the embodiment of Mr Cameron’s Big Society. The London games apparently has a far higher retention rate of these volunteers than previous Olympic cities. Will these people remain on hand to encourage young Londoners to take up sport?

Of course, it will be years before it will be possible to say whether the 2012 games’ legacy was a success, by which time Mr Johnson will be doing a very different job. Conservative party leader or even Prime Minister, perhaps?

“Nonsense,” he roared in response to recent speculation that he is destined to replace Mr Cameron. “No serious student of politics could possible think that would happen.”

But they certainly do and the London Mayor knows full well that his part in these memorable Olympics will ensure such speculation will continue.

He said he will not contest a third term as London mayor, but was uncharacteristically pianissimo when asked about what he plans to do after the 2016 election.

He dismissed the current tensions within the Coalition as “classic midtermery” and can’t resist joking that the Games helpfully presented “a very good moment” to discreetly ditch House of Lords reform – something he sounds about as enthusiastic about as a spin on the Olympic BMX track.

He described his past two weeks as a “Himalayan range of exciting peaks”. “I’ve been on my feet absolutely yelling,” he said.

“I’d never been to a velodrome before. That was great. That sort of ritual the cyclists do like mating pigeons waggling their bottoms – I love it.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a few regrets about the past couple of weeks.

“I won’t be trying to get on a zip wire again in a hurry,” he puffs, recalling the well-publicised gaffe which saw the accident-prone London mayor suspended high above a London park.

“Although in a way that was successful – it massively increased the popularity of the Victoria Park zip wire from a very low base.”

He also seemed abashed that one of his savvy media advisors “quashed” a guest appearance in Twenty Twelve, the BBC spoof documentary about the London Olympics’ organisers.

Was there in any truth in the show’s depiction of a gaggle of bumbling bureaucrats, some of whom seemed to be competing for a gold medal in political correctness?

“Oh it was absolutely truthful. The endless conversations about inclusivity, sustainability, multiculturality, posterity…”.

He then erupted into giggles. “We had a lot of that. And the makers seemed to know some things that we were doing that weren’t public. But there will be no mole hunt.”

He used a typical “BoJo” turn of phrase to describe a meeting with Laura Trott, the double gold medal winning poster girl of cycling – a phrase which given his well-documtened personal life suggests he is still willing to sail close to the wind despite the added profile the Olympics.

“I’ve got a date with Laura Trott,” he said of the 20-year-old gold medal-winning cyclist who has agreed to front an annual London two-day festival of cycling, the first of which is set to take place next summer.

“She’s going to teach me how to ride one of those carbon fibre bikes. I watched her win the Omnium – wow. She is like a whippet. And you meet her and she’s tiny.

“You can’t understand where the speed comes from. And she’s very charming, blonde and all the rest of it.”

Charming, blond, all the rest of it – now who else could that be?