boris
Boris JohnsonMatt Cardy/Getty Images

Boris Johnson has said Sir Timothy Hunt, the Nobel Prize winning scientist who resigned his post last week following sexist remarks he made at conference, should be reinstated and did not deserved to be attacked for his comments.

The mayor of London said the former Royal Society and University College London professor had been unfairly judged for statements about "the trouble with girls" and had simply been "giving a light-hearted, off-the-cuff speech to some scientific journalists in Seoul."

"What did he say, to make the plaster fall off the ceiling? Why did the seismograph yaw so crazily? Well, he was speaking flippantly, ironically – or so he thought – about men and women working together in the lab," Johnson wrote in a column for the Telegraph.

Sir Tim Hunt sparked outrage in the media and within the scientific community after he told a conference in Seoul the problems he had with girls in the laboratory. "Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry," he said.

The Tory politician wrote that Mr Hunt, whom he called a "great and good man", had made three correct statements and argued that: "At the moment we are failing to unlock the talents of both sexes because we are failing to grasp that they are intellectually equal but in some ways emotionally different."

Johnson wrote that political correctness was similar to the kind of superstition that had led Malaysians to claim Western tourists caused an earthquake on Mt Kinabalu by posing naked for pictures on one of its peaks.

Referring to Eleanor Hawkins who spent three days in prison for indecent behaviour following the debacle, Johnson wrote that she was "a young British woman who loosened her girdle and shook her naked breasts at the mountain".