Every single time an MP has mentioned Peppa Pig in parliament after Boris Johnson raves about Peppa Pig world

Every single time an MP has mentioned Peppa Pig in parliament after Boris Johnson raves about Peppa Pig world

Yesterday, Boris Johnson left people reeling after he lost his place in an important speech to business leaders then riffed about how he spent his weekend at Peppa Pig World - which he loved, by the way.

Serious people made serious points about the decline of important political discourse and how embarrassing it is to be represented on the world stage by a man who appears to know more about children’s cartoons than business.

Meanwhile, unserious people roasted Johnson like a joint of pork and made a number of amusing memes and jokes about his meaty reference.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson enjoys a ride with his wife Carrie Johnson and son at Peppa Pig World near Owervia REUTERS

We have since discovered that it is regrettably not the first time a politician has wasted time rolling around in the mud with Peppa and her friends. And if you trawl through the parliamentary archives, it is easy to find multiple instances of when they have even chatted about the children’s animate show it in the esteemed institution that is the House of Commons.

Here are all the times a politician has plugged Peppa Pig in parliament.

Paul Maynard, Conservative, November 2010

Peppa first entered the chamber in 2010 when - during a debate about speech therapy services available to children - Tory MP Paul Maynard said reading books including Peppa Pig can help children with their language development.

He said: “Booktrust, a charity of which many hon. Members may be aware, does fantastic work in more deprived areas just by handing out bags of books to young mums to encourage them to read and by saying to young dads, ‘It’s a good thing to sit down with your young child and read them a story. Don’t just watch the football match. Read Peppa Pig or whatever children’s literature you happen to have to hand; it helps your children.’”

Mark Field, Conservative, February 2012

Two years passed, and Peppa faded into obscurity, until a Tory decided to chat about her in a debate about intellectual property, of all things. Using Peppa to make a point about how the government should support creative industries through tax credits, Field said:

“The money generated annually worldwide from unimaginably successful franchises such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Wallace and Gromit and Peppa Pig, especially when it comes to all the secondary branded products, massively exceeds that brought in by high-profile films such The King’s Speech—a massive Oscar winner last year, which was, of course, helped along by the tax credit for films.”

We’re sold.

Paul Flynn, Labour, February 2012

In the same debate Flynn replied, not to discuss funding, but to note:

“(Field) has reminded me of the extraordinary genius that produced Peppa Pig. In the past fortnight I have seen Père Cochon and Maman Cochon, watching on Gallic television, as I do frequently—and there is a Dada Moch and a Mama Moch—in versions of Peppa Pig. Why should young children including my many grandchildren be fascinated by a mutant pig with both eyes on one side of her face? That, I presume, is explained by the nature of errant genius.”

Errant genius.

Mark Field (again), Conservative, April 2012

It only took two months until our representatives were moved to talk about Peppa Pig again. Discussing how the coalition had done wonders for the economy, Mark Field piped up again to celebrate tax credits.

He said:

“After three years of campaigning alongside the local animation industry in my constituency, the Chancellor announced the Government’s intention to introduce a tax credit for televised animation and video games. I congratulate him and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on securing a bright future in the UK for Peppa Pig, Olive the Ostrich and their animated brethren.”

It’s what people go into politics for.

Tom Greatrex, Labour, December 2012

We all let our work slip a bit in the run up to the Christmas, and one Labour MP clearly couldn’t wait to knock off when he revealed his plans for the holiday, saying:

“It is a pleasure to be taking part in the final debate of the year on Government legislation before Christmas, before many of us spend time with our friends and families—and in my case, no doubt, a daily dose of Peppa Pig.”

Paul Flynn (again), Labour, April 2013

Not satisfied with displaying his penchant for Peppa a mere year prior, Flynn talked about Peppa Pig, this time in a more serious context by explaining that a room in an RAF station in Oxfordshire had a room “fitted out with Peppa Pig toys for the children who turn up.”

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Labour, November 2013

It was 2013 when Peppa Pig finally entered the House of Lords. Speaking about consumer protection, a Labour Lord lamented:

“Is the Minister aware of the disgusting practice of payday lenders of targeting their advertising at children’s television programmes? Why do my grandchildren have to be subjected to that kind of advertising when they are watching “Peppa Pig”?

For the record, the bloke he was talking to, Viscount Younger of Leckie replied that they were “taking action”.

“The FCA announced last month that it has proposed tough action on payday lending, which includes a focus on children, and we welcome these proposals.”

Thank goodness for that.

Mark Field (again!), Conservative, January 2014

Field remarkably brought Peppa to parliament for a third time. Speaking again about intellectual property, he remarked that retaining these rights is important to generate money from “unimaginably successful animation franchises such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Wallace and Gromit and Peppa Pig—as I have two young children, I am now rather more used to that.”

Rupa Huq, Labour, December 2015

Rupa Huq speaking on Channel 4 NewsRupa Huq speaking on Channel 4 NewsChannel 4 News/grab

Johnson is not the only politician who has talked about Peppa Pig World, and it clearly has cross party appeal. Reminiscing about the 2011 London riots, Labour MP Huq said one of her constituents, Helen, was affected by people trying to smash her shop windows while she was on her way back from the attraction.

“Helen, who had had warning through the grapevine, told me recently that, at 5 pm, she was on her way back from Peppa Pig World, when she was given a tip-off that rumours were circulating on Facebook,” Huq explained.

Baroness Benjamin, Liberal Democrat, January 2017

So far we’ve seen Peppa be used as a political pawn to debate everything from intellectual property to payday loans so it was only a matter of time before she got dragged into the Brexit debate.

Remainer Benjamin appeared to warn that Brexit could have a devastating impact on the cartoon, explaining that many Europeans work in the UK and imports and exports across the continent help the industry thrive.

She said:

“I want to concentrate on the potential impact of Brexit on our talented children’s and animation production sector.

“The creative industries overall are responsible for 8 per cent of total UK gross value. The children’s production sector has played its part in this major contribution, selling the UK brand with global successes such as Peppa Pig, Art Attack, Horrible Histories and many, many more.”

Those on the fence about Brexit tumbled to the Remainer side with great force.

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat, January 2018


In a debate about ethics and artificial intelligence, Swinson warned: “We have read about children watching a video on YouTube of Peppa Pig being tortured at the dentist, which had been suggested by the website’s autoplay algorithm. In every one of those cases, we have a right to be concerned. AI systems are making decisions that we find shocking and unethical. Many of us will feel a lack of trust and a loss of control.”

Oh dear.

Baroness Bertin, Conservative, February 2018

This just in. Peppa Pig is responsible for the patriarchy, according to Baroness Berting. Speaking about gender stereotyping, the politician blamed Peppa Pig for entrenching sexist attitudes. She said:

First, deeply ingrained gender stereotyping starts early on. When my daughter was barely four-years-old she bounced in to the kitchen saying, “Mummy, I want to be a nurse”. I was delighted, until she followed up by saying, “I would quite like to be a doctor, but only boys can be doctors”. This was last year. I have no idea where she gets this into her head—in fact I do, it is Peppa Pig, but moving on—but it serves to highlight my point that it starts early and is very subtle. It can still subconsciously drive women and men down different paths.”

Peppa, how could you?

Lord Watson of Invergowrie, Labour, February 2018

In the same debate, the Labour Lord accepted her point but appeared to cut Peppa a bit of slack.

“Young women continue to experience gender stereotypes which prevent them reaching their full potential, as the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, said. It runs a bit further than Peppa Pig; nonetheless, those are influential children’s television programmes, as the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, will know”.

David Duguid, Conservative, March 2019

But Peppa hasn’t always been blamed for societal ills. In a general debate, after another MP had just spoken about NATO, one MP said for what appears to be literally no reason: “I feel that before I say anything else, I must put on record that I found out today that my daughter—although she did not dress up as a fictional character for World Book Day—is adorned from head to toe in Peppa Pig paraphernalia, which does not surprise me in the slightest.


Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative, October 2020

Boris Johnson Holds Weekly Cabinet MeetingGetty Images

And Rees-Mogg, like Johnson, once also revealed himself to be a cartoon aficionado. After a Tory MP asked the house to support annual world puddle jumping championships, which apparently are a thing, Rees-Mogg said: “This is a brilliant idea, and who cannot recall the episode of Peppa Pig where Peppa decides to go and jump in a muddy puddle, that being her favourite activity?

“She is joined by her brother, George, by her father and her mother, and I have a feeling even the grandparents join in, and they all get covered in mud.

“I cannot promise my hon. Friend that that will be what the Rees-Mogg household are doing on world puddle jumping day, but certainly a number of my children will enjoy doing it very much, and he is to be commended for ensuring that world puddle jumping day has a wider audience.”

Baroness Kidron, crossbench peer, November 2021

The year is 2021. Mere days before Johnson stomped into the CBI meeting and talked all things pig, a crossbench peer talked about an age-assurance bill to protect children’s safety online. Defending it, she said the bill protects people’s privacy and is only used in certain circumstances.

“It would be foolish to require a child to present their passport to explore the world of Peppa Pig, but it remains a travesty that 80 per cent of pornography sites have no form of age barrier at all—not even a tick box,” she said.

So there you have it. While everyone was distracted by the Owen Paterson scandal, they failed to realise that the real lobbying scandal is that a number of MPs, nose in the trough indeed, are lobbying without shame for Big Peppa to bring home the bacon.

Politicians are sometimes accused of telling porkies, but we didn’t think it had such a literal meaning.

The Conversation (0)