BORIS Johnson has defended his plans for scaled-back social care reform and HS2 rail links in England – but it was a series of obscure references which caught the attention during a bizarre speech to business leaders.

The Prime Minister spoke about a range of issues during a disjointed address to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference. The Tory leader enthused about a visit to Peppa Pig World and pretended to be a speeding car during an often baffling speech.

The UK Government is facing a potential backbench revolt amid claims the social care plan is now less generous than it appeared when it was first published in September.

And ministers have also come in for flak for downgrading plans for the HS2 infrastructure project.

Speaking at the CBI event in South Shields, Johnson claimed the social care reforms were “incredibly generous”, adding: “They are much better than the existing system” south of the Border.

He continued: “Under the existing system nobody gets any support if they have assets of £23,000 or more. Now you get support if you have £100,000 or less, so we are helping people.

“It is in fact more generous than some of the original proposals … because it helps people not just who are in residential care but also people who benefit from domiciliary care as well.

The Tory chief added: “We are addressing a long-standing social injustice and it will benefit the people of this country.”

Some Conservative MPs warned they will not support the new policy to cap care costs in England, which critics argue has been watered down since it was first announced.

It came after Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, urged Tory MPs to vote down the Government’s social proposals after branding them “daylight robbery”.

Johnson – who lost his place midway through the speech, referenced Vladimir Lenin and compared himself to Moses – also defended the scaled-back plans for railway investment, insisting the schemes would still be “transformatory”.

The Prime Minister told the CBI conference: “It is fantastic, another £96 billion on improving rail services in this country, that is three new chunks of high-speed line.”

READ MORE: Tory Health Secretary's links to private health sector revealed

The plans unveiled last week saw the HS2 leg from Birmingham to Leeds abandoned while the Northern Powerhouse Rail route from Liverpool to Leeds will run partly on existing lines rather than new ones.

The Prime Minister said: “It’s a fantastic thing, it’s transformatory, nothing seen like it for a century.”

Addressing business leaders, he announced that Chancellor Rishi Sunak wanted to cut the tax burden for businesses but said the UK Government had to be “prudent”.

“On corporation tax, on general tax for business – don’t forget, we’re still the lowest in the G7,” the Tory leader said. “I mentioned the 125% super deduction which is proving very attractive.

“If you ask me ‘does the Chancellor want to go further and reduce burdens on taxpayers and business’, yes, of course he does. But don’t forget that we’ve just been through a pandemic where we had to look after people to the tune of £407 billion and that was a big, big fiscal event and extremely tough for the taxpayer.

“You’ve got to be prudent and you’ve got to manage things sensibly. We will get to relieving more of the burdens of taxation but you’ve got to do it in a reasonable and prudent way.”

Johnson argued that electrification will be the key to the new “green” industrial revolution.

“Lenin once said the communist revolution was Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country,” he said in his keynote address.

“The coming industrial revolution is green power plus electrification of the whole country. We are electrifying our cars, we are electrifying our rail.”

At the same time, the PM insisted the UK could not afford to neglect the road network as people returned to the office following the pandemic.

“We cannot be endlessly hostile to road improvements. We have to fix it now,” he said.

“I know there are some people who think that working habits have been remade by the pandemic and that everyone will be working only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in an acronym I won’t repeat.

“I don’t want to be dogmatic about this but I have my doubts. There are sound evolutionary reasons why mother nature does not like working from home. I prophesy people will come back to the office and they will come back on the roads and the rail.”

Johnson even compared his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution to the 10 Commandments brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai.

The Prime Minister's performance was the subject of much scorn on social media.

Scottish Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson, sharing a video of the speech, tweeted: "Must Watch: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom! A periodic reminder why the Tory Party has not won a single national election in Scotland since 1955."

Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray added: "He did say his government policy was to 'f*** business'. I think a speech of such little preparation and bumbling on about Peppa Pig just shows he meant it."