Fish flinging fiasco as Jacob Rees-Mogg's Brexit protest gets messy

Written by James Millar on 21 March 2018 in Diary

Leading Brexiteers took to the river to complain about EU deal on fisheries

There's something about Nigel Farage and the River Thames that don't quite go together. Last time he sailed up the river to parliament, just days ahead of the Brexit referendum, Bob Geldof turned up and engaged him in a naval war of words via megaphone.

This morning Jacob Rees-Mogg and a hearty crew of anti-EU Conservatives were due to stage a symbolic protest at what they see as the government's betrayal over fisheries. Then Nigel turned up. And the Tories ran away.

Rees-Mogg, Ross Thomson, Anne Marie Trevelyan and Craig Mackinlay (who defeated Nigel Farage to win his Thanet seat) posed for cameras by the Thames. They planned to board a fishing boat that had sailed in from Whitstable before flinging a catch overboard to illustrate how the government had thrown away the fishing industry's rights. Many Brexiteers, particularly those representing coastal communities, are angry that Theresa May has agreed to stay in the Common Fisheries Policy until the end of the transition period - due to run until the end of 2020 - that will follow the UK's exit from the EU. The CFP allows EU boats to fish in nominally UK waters and vice versa and puts quotas on how many fish can be caught. Today's protest was organised by Fishing for Leave who want the UK to quit the CFP next March.

However Rees Mogg made clear via Twitter that he would not personally be taking part in any fish flinging.

After confusion over whether the boat had permission to actually dock a number of his colleagues did board the boat. Ross Thomson, MP for Aberdeen South, was pictured on the craft which was crammed with reporters and TV crews. But apparently he disembarked along with the other MPs when Nigel Farage showed up. Former Ukip leader Farage then threw a number of fish into the water before tipping a box of plaice over the side.

He said: "I don't think this government has got the strength or the guts to stand up and take back our territorial waters."

However the odd event still had one more twist to come. One quick thinking SNP staffer quickly went online to report Farage for fly-tipping and encouraged others to do the same.


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