Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he is going to start calling himself Captain Haddock as he was forced to deny plans to fling fish into the Thames.
The Telegraph reported that the Tory MP was among a group due to board a boat and pass by Parliament throwing fish into the Thames in protest at an alleged ‘sellout’ of British fishermen in the government’s Brexit transition deal.
The deal allows the EU to maintain control of Britain’s territorial waters until the end of 2020, which protestors have claimed as ‘a potential death sentence’ for British fishing.
It was reported that Mr Rees-Mogg would join fellow Tory MP Craig MacKinlay and Sheryll Murray in hurling a box of haddock, skate and bass into the Thames to highlight their concern.
But today he denied planning to take part – although he did tell LBC: “I’m going to start calling myself Captain Haddock.”
Captain Haddock is a character in the Tintin series of adventures known for his colourful insults.
Mr Rees-Mogg/Captain Haddock continued: “I think this has got a bit out of hand. There was a suggestion that a fishing boat should go up the river in protest at the delay in getting out of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“I’m not throwing fish anywhere. I have a nasty feeling if I started throwing fish they’d be brought back by the wind and hit me in the face.”
The stunt would have echoes of the ‘Brexit flotilla’ during the referendum campaign, in which then Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Labour MP and Leaver Kate Hoey sailed down the Thames past the Houses of Parliament.
Mr Rees-Mogg/Captain Haddock, the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next Tory leader, also gave his lukewarm backing to the PM’s Brexit transition deal, labelling it “the purgatory before Heaven”.
A spokesman for the European Research Group – the group of backbench Hard Brexit-backing Tories headed by Mr Rees-Mogg/Captain Haddock – said: “If Brexit means Brexit, we have to take control of our fish.”
And a spokesman for Fishing for Leave, who are organising the protest, accused Brexit secretary David Davis of an “abject, disgusting betrayal” and demanded he and prime minister Theresa May resign.
Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross, said: “There is no spinning this as a good outcome.
“It would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than try to sell this as a success.”