Johnson faces Tory pressure after chaotic 'Peppa Pig' speech and social care revolt

Theresa May's former advisor said Boris Johnson 'clearly had a terrible day' after stumbling during his speech on Monday, ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan reports

Boris Johnson is under pressure from the Conservative party to rebuild his authority after a bizarre address to business leaders and a revolt over social care.

Senior Tory Jeremy Hunt said it had “not been a great month” for the government, “not just on trivial issues like speeches going wrong but on much more serious issues like parliamentary standards”.

The Prime Minister’s address to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Monday saw him lose his place in his notes, talk about Peppa Pig and impersonate a car.

Boris Johnson on his trip to Peppa Pig World

On Tuesday afternoon, Labour Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said the prime minister looked like "an embarrassment" after his speech.

She told ITV News that Labour Party leader looked like a "prime minister in waiting" compared to Boris Johnson.

"The Labour Party was shown to be the party of business yesterday, Boris Johnson was the party of Peppa Pig", she said.

Labour Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner told ITV News that Boris Johnson and his party are 'the party of Peppa Pig'

The government then survived a rebellion over its social care reforms, with 19 Tories opposing the plans and dozens more not voting at all in response to the cap on costs being less generous than expected.

It followed a bruising few weeks which have seen Mr Johnson’s judgment being questioned over his handling of the Owen Paterson row on parliamentary standards and Tory criticism of scaled-back plans for rail upgrades in the North.

Former Cabinet minister Mr Hunt, who stood against Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership in 2019, told ITV News "it has been a pretty terrible few weeks and obviously people will be wanting things to get better".

"We need to learn our lesson and move forward," he added.

Mr Hunt also told the BBC that Mr Johnson's CBI speech “wasn’t a great moment and it hasn’t been a great month for the government”.

In a sign of the questions being asked about Mr Johnson, a senior Downing Street source told the BBC “there is a lot of concern inside the building about the PM…. It’s just not working”.

“Cabinet needs to wake up and demand serious changes otherwise it’ll keep getting worse. If they don’t insist, he just won’t do anything about it,” the source said.

Mr Hunt acknowledged there were “noises off” about Mr Johnson’s leadership within the Tory party, but insisted the criticism was not on the same scale as that faced by David Cameron or Theresa May.

“I’m sure there are things that we can do better,” he said.

“But I was in the Cabinet for nine years from 2010 and frankly there’s never been a time when there weren’t noises off in Westminster, there weren’t backbench MPs with complaints about the way the Government is operating,” Mr Hunt told Times Radio.

On Sky News, he said: “We all have bad moments and yesterday was not a great one for the Prime Minister.”

Mr Hunt, the Commons Health Committee chairman, was one of the Tories who abstained over the social care reforms.

The Prime Minister narrowly succeeded in getting MPs to back his new policy to cap care costs in England on Monday evening.

Many Tory MPs are 'very angry about what they saw as a last minute change' to the Health and Social Care Bill, ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says

The government won the vote by 26, a major cut to the Prime Minister’s working majority of around 80 MPs, as 19 Conservatives including former Cabinet minister Esther McVey and ex-chief whip Mark Harper rebelled to oppose the plans – while 68 Tories did not vote for them, either because they abstained or could not attend.

The scale of the revolt could encourage peers to seek to amend the legislation when it reaches the Lords.

Crossbench peer Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said an impact assessment of the reforms – which was not available to MPs – will be “very important”.

She told the BBC’s Today programme: “It may be that we will say to the Commons, ‘can you think again?’, it may be that we come up with constructive amendments to improve what is on the table at the moment because, clearly, there’s a lot of disquiet.”