Media caption, Watch: The prime minister is asked if he’s OK after talking about Peppa Pig in a speech to business leaders
Boris Johnson is “on great form”, the deputy PM says, despite criticism over a speech to business leaders on Monday.
The prime minister was branded “shambolic” after his appearance at the CBI, where he referenced Peppa Pig, quoted Lenin and lost his place.
But Dominic Raab praised the PM’s “ebullient, bouncy, optimistic, Tiggerish character”, saying it “livens up” his speeches.
He said there was a “steeliness” to the PM, adding: “We work as a team.”
And he dismissed the criticism as Westminster “tittle tattle”.
The remarks come ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions at 12:00 GMT, where Mr Johnson will face questions from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other MPs.
Mr Johnson appeared before the CBI conference earlier this week to make his pitch for a “green industrial revolution” to business.
The speech included a recap of the PM’s policies, including support for electric cars, investing into wind power and the government’s integrated rail plan.
But it drew more negative attention after his impression of a car, comparing himself to Moses and his personal anecdote from a trip to Peppa Pig World.
“I was a bit hazy about what I would find at Peppa Pig World, but I loved it,” he told the conference. “Peppa Pig World is very much my kind of place.
“It has very safe streets, discipline in schools, a heavy emphasis on mass transit systems I noticed, even if they are a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig.”
Asked after the speech, “is everything OK?”, Mr Johnson said he thought people had “got the vast majority of the points” he wanted to make and that the speech “went over well”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast: “Peppa Pig… is a fantastic British export around the world and I think that was the point the prime minister was making.”
He said he was “happy to support the glowing references to Peppa Pig”, as he remembered watching it with his own children.
But Mr Raab insisted the government was “focused” on the pandemic, the vaccine roll-out, booster jabs and the economy.
He added: “The prime minister is a ebullient, bouncy, optimistic, Tiggerish character and he livens up his speeches in a way that few politicians, past and present, have done.
“But actually there is a steeliness to him as prime minister and his team, and we work as a team.”