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Ken Livingstone has warned the London mayoral race is getting "considerably out of hand", after reportedly going "nose to nose" with Boris Johnson in a lift following a live debate.
After the live hustings was broadcast on LBC radio, Mr Johnson called his opponent "a fucking liar" three times, apparently for making accusations about the Mayor's tax arrangements.
Sources in Mr Johnson's office say the former mayor was asked before the debate not to discuss personal tax issues.
A spokesman for Mr Livingstone's campaign said: "Boris Johnson lost his temper because he lost the debate - he talked about cable cars not cutting fares and the squeeze on Londoners."
Mr Livingstone later challenged the Mayor to debate "who will make Londoners better off," rather than arguing about personal tax issues.
"The headlines are all about four-letter words in a lift, and rows about taxes. This cannot be right. There is a potential that the election debate becomes a disservice to Londoners," he said.
After the debate, the BackBoris campaign released a letter from Mr Johnson's personal accountant denying any wrongdoing.
"My firm has acted as Boris' accountants since the 1990's," the letter read.
"All of his freelance earnings have been included in his tax returns, and subjected to income tax at the appropriate rates. He has never used a company either to shelter his income from taxation, or to meet other private expenditure, or to employ staff."
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