Peppa Pig cancels date as Labour focuses on policy

By Ian Dunt

Gordon Brown’s attempts to concentrate on policy today were derailed when a planned appearance by Peppa Pig, a children’s cartoon character, was cancelled to avoid controversy.

The company which distributes the programme said it wanted to avoid “any controversy or misunderstanding”.

“I heard a very bad rumour that in fact it was the intervention of the BBC, not Channel 5, which prevented the appearance of Peppa Pig,” Peter Mandelson said today.

“Although Peppa Pig and her production company were delighted to appear today, BBC managers got onto Channel 5 and started stirring trouble.”

Labour pushed ahead with today’s schedule as planned however, with Mr Brown suggesting he campaign has entered a “new phase” where major policy areas are discussed.

Labour is keen to harness the last week of campaigning to its advantage.

The final leaders’ TV debate is on the economy and therefore plays to Mr Brown’s strength.

Party officials are hoping this phase of the campaign will then see renewed concentration on the issues of “substance” and policy where they believe the PM can appear authoritative.

Labour said today that Lib Dem plans on child trust funds and Conservatives pledges to scale back child tax credits amount to a “coalition of cuts for children”.

Speaking at a press conference in central London, Lord Mandelson said: “The Tories plan to go further with their proposal for top-up fees for toddlers.”

The party launched its manifesto for families today, at an event attended by Lord Mandelson with Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, the only married couple in Cabinet.