PM loses his thread during key levelling up address

Boris Johnson appeared flustered delivering his speech to the CBI’s annual conference this morning, as he lost his place in the speech and spent 20 seconds rifling through papers before he resumed speaking.

Speaking about Covid vaccines, electric vehicles and Peppa Pig, the Prime Minister said the world is “on the brink of another industrial revolution”, in the form of climate change.

But the 20-minute speech was full of pauses and Mr Johnson was constantly looking down to the podium to read from scripts.

At one point he paused, repeatedly saying “forgive me, forgive me” as he tried to find his place in the speech.

People were quick to criticise the blundering speech, with LBC radio host Iain Dale writing on Twitter: “I’ve heard some shockingly awfully delivered speeches in my time, but this one by Boris at the CBI takes some beating. All over the place.”

He started the speech by paying tribute to the firms who developed the Covid vaccines before reaffirming his commitment to levelling up.

The Prime Minister said achieving his goal would help the UK become a bigger economy than Germany.

“It is a moral mission and as you get older I find the funny thing is you get more idealistic and less cynical,” he said.

“It’s a moral thing but it’s also an economic imperative.

“Because if this country could achieve the same kind of geographical balance and dispersion of growth and wealth that you find in most of our most successful economic comparators, and if all our businesses could reach more balance in their levels of productivity, then there would be absolutely no stopping us and we would achieve – what I believe we can – and become the biggest and most successful economy in Europe.”

But he said “fate has handed us an opportunity” to reshape the economy and went on to hail the future of electric vehicles.

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