Boris Johnson's greatest gaffes

Boris Johnson (AAP)
Boris Johnson (AAP)

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson has quickly become the bookmakers' favourite for the United Kingdom's next Prime Minister, following David Cameron's resignation in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Mr Johnson spearheaded the Leave campaign. It is tempting to compare him to Donald Trump -- another flamboyant, right-wing politician known for outrageous statements, at the forefront of a campaign that unexpectedly swept a nation... and with a distinctive mop of hair.

Boris Johnson's greatest gaffes

Mr Johnson has a long history of public gaffes that include flattening a child during a game of rugby in Tokyo, rugby tackling German Maurizio Gaudina during a charity football match and getting stuck on a zip line at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Born in New York in 1964, Mr Johnson is also renowned for his scandalous sex life and multiple affairs.

Despite all of this, he is seen by many in Britain as a lovable rogue and was instrumental in implementing the city's public bicycle rental system.

But to allow Mr Johnson to explain himself in his own words, here are 20 of his more infamous quotes:

On the European Union (in 1997): "Look, I'm rather pro-European, actually. I certainly want a European community where one can go off and scoff croissants, drink delicious coffee, learn foreign languages and generally make love to foreign women."

On being Prime Minister: "My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive."

On black people: "Piccaninnies."

On why females attend university: "They've got to find men to marry."

On gay marriage: "We don't want our children being taught some rubbish about homosexual marriage being the same as normal marriage."

On Islam: "The most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers."

On the Conservative Party: "Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3."

On people from Papua New Guinea: "Cannibals."

On women: "I've slept with far fewer than 1,000."

On speed limits: "No one obeys the speed limit except a motorised rickshaw."

On narcotics: "I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed so it didn't go up my nose. In fact, it may have been icing sugar."

On Africa: "They say [Tony Blair] is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird."

On marijuana: "It was jolly nice."

On using a mobile phone while driving: "I don't believe that is necessarily any more dangerous than the many other risky things that people do with their free hands while driving -- nose-picking, reading the paper, studying the A-Z, beating the children, and so on."

On China: "Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase."

On Arnold Schwarzenegger: "My speaking style was criticized by no less an authority than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a low moment, my friends, to have my rhetorical skills denounced by a monosyllabic Austrian cyborg."

On his £250,000 salary for a Daily Telegraph column: "Chickenfeed."

On the removal a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House in 2009: "It was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President's ancestral dislike of the British empire."

On an adultery accusation that was proven to be true: "I have not had an affair with Petronella. It is complete balderdash. It is an inverted pyramid of piffle. It is all completely untrue and ludicrous conjecture. I am amazed people can write this drivel."

On cake: "My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it."

Boris Johson, elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip reacts after the General Election count at Brunel University, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 7, 2015. See PA story ELECTION . Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire