Watch: Boris Johnson champions Peppa Pig as British business 'genius'
Boris Johnson has made a rambling speech to business leaders in which he praised Peppa Pig and pretended to be a car.
The prime minister described Peppa Pig World as “my kind of place” after he spent Sunday at the theme park in the New Forest, Hampshire, with his wife, Carrie, and their one-year-old son, Wilfred.
He referenced the trip during a speech on Monday to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which was filled with long pauses, hurried searches through his notes and a series of odd comments including one in which he compared himself to Moses.
Johnson appeared to lose his place in the prepared notes for his speech on several occasions, at one point pausing for 20 seconds and saying, “Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me”.
He also imitated the sound of a powerful car and said the first electric vehicle he encountered was like a "wheeled rabbit hutch".
At another point, he said: “Yesterday, I went - as we all must - to Peppa Pig World.”
He then asked those gathered if they had been to Peppa Pig World.
When only a few put their hands up, Johnson said: “Not enough.”
He added: “I was a bit hazy what I would find at Peppa Pig World but I loved it.
“Peppa Pig World is very much my kind of place.
“It has very safe streets, discipline in schools, heavy emphasis on new mass transit systems, I noticed, even if they are a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig.”
Johnson described Peppa Pig as “pure genius”, despite resembling a “Picasso-like hairdryer”.
Praising the ingenuity of the private sector, Mr Johnson said “no Whitehall civil servant could conceivably have come up with Peppa”.
On Sunday, Johnson was photographed on the Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club water ride.
George Bell, 30, was out on a family day trip of his own to the theme park when he spotted Johnson waiting to go on the same ride.
He said: “I first spotted him when he was queuing ahead of me. He briefly said, ‘Hi, how are you?’.
“Then on the water ride itself, my carriage bumped into his.
“He remarked the ride was ‘awfully slow’.”
In a speech on Monday that was meant to be about green policies, Johnson, who once claimed wind farms could not “pull the skin off a rice pudding”, praised the “beautiful white mills” off the North Sea coast “as we claim a new harvest, rich and green from the drowned meadows of Doggerland”.
That power could fuel electric vehicles (EVs) – although Johnson acknowledged they may not “burble” like a high-powered petrol car, impersonating a “vroom vroom” roaring engine to underline the point.
He also compared his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution to the 10 Commandments brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai.
Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves criticised the PM's speech, saying: “No one was laughing, because the joke’s not funny anymore. Labour is the true party of business.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Businesses are crying out for clarity. Instead, all they got was Boris Johnson rambling on about Peppa Pig. It is a perfect metaphor for Johnson’s chaotic, incompetent Government as it trashes our economy, but it is not worthy of a British Prime Minister.”
Responding to the criticism later, Johnson said he thought his CBI speech “went over well”.
After being questioned by ITV after the speech on whether “everything was OK”, Johnson said: “I think that people got the vast majority of the points that I wanted to make and I thought it went over well.”
James Mancey, operations director at Paultons Park, where Peppa Pig World is based, said the attraction was “delighted” Mr Johnson attended on Sunday.
Watch: Boris Johnson loses his place during speech to CBI