Peppa Pig World became the star of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s CBI speech as he went off on a tangent that has been described as “shambolic”.
The Prime Minister said that he and his family had visited the UK attraction recently, and asked the conference attendees if anyone had visited.
He went on to praise Peppa Pig World for its “safe streets” and “discipline in schools”.
This is everything you need to know.
What is Peppa Pig World - and where is it?
Peppa Pig World is a theme park situated within the Paultons Family Theme Park in Hampshire.
It is described as “the world’s largest and first Peppa Pig World”, with nine rides to visit, including Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club, Grandpa Pig’s Little Train and the Windy Castle Ride.
Kids can meet Peppa Pig and George and can also visit the biggest Peppa Pig toy shop in the world.
Tickets to Peppa Pig World start at £33.50 for one individual, £100.50 for a family of three, £134 for a family of four, and £167.50 for a family of five. Children under one metre tall go free, with no need for a ticket.
James Mancey, operations director at Paultons Park, where Peppa Pig World is based, said the attraction was “delighted” that Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended on Sunday (21 November).
He said: “The fact that Mr Johnson has chosen to speak at length about his visit during today’s CBI conference, positively endorsing the creativity and innovation showcased by Peppa Pig World and encouraging others to visit, is testament to the hard work of everyone at Paultons Park who create the wonderful experience our millions of guests enjoy each year.”
What did Boris Johnson say about Peppa Pig World?
In a speech that’s been described as “bizarre”, Johnson asked the audience of a business address whether they had ever been to Peppa Pig World.
The Prime Minister appeared to lose his place in his speech and could be seen shuffling through his papers and repeating “forgive me”.
In an effort to fill the silence, Johnson said: “Yesterday I went, as we all must, to Peppa Pig World.
“Any of you been to Peppa Pig World? Hand up anyone who has been to Peppa Pig World.”
He continued on to say that he had “loved” visiting the attraction, and said: “Peppa Pig World is very much my kind of place.”
Johnson praised Peppa Pig World by stating that it has “very safe streets, discipline in schools, heavy emphasis on new mass transit systems, even if they are a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig”.
He continued: “The real lesson for me at Peppa Pig World, and I’m surprised you haven’t been there, was about the power of UK creativity.”
Praising the ingenuity of the private sector, Johnson said “no Whitehall civil servant could conceivably have come up with Peppa”, which had become a £6 billion global business with theme parks in the US and China.
He also mimicked the sound of a roaring car as he said electric vehicles, while lacking the characteristic noise of a high-powered petrol engine, “move off the lights faster than a Ferrari”.
At another point in his speech, the Prime Minister compared his 10-point plan for a green economy with the 10 commandments in the Bible.
Senior Tory Jeremy Hunt said that Johnson’s CBI speech “wasn’t a great moment”.
What has the response been to Boris Johnson’s speech?
Johnson has since defended his speech, stating that he thought it went “well”.
Following his speech, he was asked “is everything okay?” to which he said: “I think that people got the vast majority of the points I wanted to make and I thought it went over well.”
Addressing his speech, the official Labour Party Twitter account wrote: “The joke’s not funny anymore.”
Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves described the speech as “shambolic”, and added: “No one was laughing, because the joke’s not funny anymore.”
Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat leader, 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."
While Johnson drew considerable criticisms for the speech, others said that his strange tangents were purposefully designed to draw attention from the actions of the Tory party.
Author Mikey Walsh tweeted: “Anyone who doesn’t think a 57 year old, hairy ar**d man standing on a stage talking about Peppa Pig isn’t a contrived, rehearsed pile of bulls**t to divert from his Party’s downright EVIL plans, are Lost.”
Peter Stefanovic wrote: “Every time I switch on the TV expecting to hear the outcry at the Prime Minister having lied to the electorate about his social care plan all I hear is people talking about Peppa Pig. I’m sure this wasn’t intentional…”
Jessica Simor QC also tweeted: “When Johnson claimed to make & paint buses out of shoeboxes in his spare time, a comms friend told me he had done that to change the google search results - possibly to distract from Arcuri? I suppose ‘peppa pig’ could be about replacing ‘sleaze’ or ‘corruption’?”
‘Like Boris, I loved Peppa Pig World!’ - a dad’s perspective
NationalWorld’s Digital Production Editor James Trembath writes: “Peppa Pig World is marmite.
“The Hampshire-based attraction is enjoyed by thousands of children every year as they immerse themselves in the land of the global TV phenomenon that airs in more than 100 countries worldwide.
“But for parents the experience can go one of two ways especially if, like me, you’ve been subjected to thousands of episodes and have dozens of Peppa Pig-themed merchandise dotted around your house.
“Have you ever had that moment when the kids leave the room and you find yourself still watching an episode? Or wandered round the house humming the theme tune? Dads, you know what I mean...
“On this occasion, though, (and it doesn’t happen often), I agree with our Prime Minister... I loved Peppa Pig World.
“Why? Because it lights up the life of children.
“And seeing my son and daughter smiling, laughing and making memories of a lifetime with Peppa, George and Co is something we’ll always remember... even if the music blaring out across the park is a little excruciating!”
A message from the editor: Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.