Last Updated: Nov 22, 2021

PM also compared himself to Moses and imitated noise of car in speech to business leaders

Boris Johnson criticised the creativity of civil servants for not conceiving of the children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig, as he gave a rambling speech to business leaders in north-east England in which he also compared himself to Moses and imitated the noise of an accelerating car. Speaking at the annual Confederation for British Industry conference, the prime minister meandered through a variety of topics – confirming the announcement trailed overnight by Downing Street that new regulations for developers will force them to install electric vehicle charging points and heralding the start of a new green industrial revolution.

However, he also became distracted at points, asking business executives to raise their hand if they had been to Peppa Pig World in Hampshire, where he reportedly took his son, Wilf, with wife Carrie over the weekend. “The government cannot fix everything, and government sometimes should get out of your hair,” Johnson insisted, claiming that “the true driver of growth is not the government” but in fact the private sector, whose energy and originality he praised.

To illustrate this, Johnson explained: “Yesterday I went, as we all must, to Peppa Pig World. Hands up if you’ve been to Peppa Pig World! “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. Even if they’re a bit stereotypical about about Daddy Pig.”

The “shambolic” speech was criticised by Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves. She said it showed “how unseriously he takes British business” and the lack of a government plan for growth, adding: “No one was laughing, because the joke’s not funny anymore. Labour is the true party of business.” Turning his fire on the BBC and Whitehall, Johnson continued: “But the real lesson for me was about the power of UK creativity. Who would have believed that a pig that looks like a hairdryer or possibly a Picasso-like hairdryer, a pig that was rejected by the BBC and has now been exported to 180 countries with theme parks both in America and China as well as as well as in the New Forest – is a business that’s worth at least £6bn to this country – and counting.