Scientists were left outraged after Mayor of London Boris Johnson denied knowledge of job cuts at Kew Gardens.

Mr Johnson visited Singapore's Botanic Gardens last week to help continue its long history with Kew and support the Singapore Gardens' bid to become a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The visit came as 51 staff were told they no longer had their jobs as part of a restructure at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

In an interview with BBC London News on Saturday, November 29, Mr Johnson denied knowledge of the cuts and job losses.

Mr Johnson said: "You're bringing up something that hasn't been raised with me here by anybody from Kew but clearly I will take it up now.

"I would not like to see a great London institution suffer from damaging cuts to its research base. We've got to remember you can easily damage a vital resource."

Kew scientists, who are members of union Prospect, are currently fighting to save the the gardens' science team from job cuts, which could result in the loss of more than 1,000 years of science expertise.

Julie Flanagan, Prospect negotiator, said the Mayor of London was "well aware" of the situation at Kew Gardens and "must have had a memory lapse" between London and Singapore.

The union said at the start of 2014, Kew had 244 staff in its science directorate but by November 28, 65 staff from across the organisation had already left and 51 scientist were told they are now "surplus to requirements".

A Kew Gardens spokesman confirmed 51 staff members were not appointed a role in the new science structure, but said 42 posts remained vacant in the science division.

The spokesman added: "A number of colleagues who are yet to secure posts have skills that we do not wish to lose, as such, as a next step we will have an additional round of ring fenced recruitment which is only open to those staff members who have not been appointed at this point.

"Therefore, it is likely that this figure of 51 will be reduced, and fewer staff will face redundancy.

"The additional ring fenced recruitment is part of our redeployment commitment to reduce redundancies."

Ms Flanagan said the union would urge Kew Gardens to let the new structure bed down before making any more redundancies.