Nigel Farage commandeered a Tory MPs’ vessel to throw dead fish into the River Thames outside Parliament in protest at the government’s transition Brexit deal.
The former Ukip leader hijacked the boat to dump haddock into the river along with representatives of the Fishing for Leave campaign group.
The stunt had been set up to allow Conservative MPs to throw fish into the river, but in the end it was taken over by Mr Farage, who jumped on the boat at the last minute.
Speaking on the vessel, he told Sky News the government did not have the “guts” to stand up to the EU.
He said: “They told us they would take back control in 2019 – that is not happening. We are now told at the start of 2021 it may happen.
“I don’t think this government has got the guts or the strength to stand up and take back our territorial waters.”
Fishermen and coastal MPs are angry the UK will not regain control of its fishing waters on Brexit day – March 29, 2019.
Instead, it will be subject to EU rules for another 21 months up until the end of December 2020.
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A total of 13 Conservative MPs signed a joint letter denouncing the draft deal agreed by the government with the EU on Monday.
Brexit boat latest: the fish boat is being refused permission to dock at any pier. It may be that the press conference will involve shouting from boat to land. A stunt that's only really been pulled off til now by Jesus. pic.twitter.com/i5tOXJVS70
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) March 21, 2018
Farage tips the fish into the Thames. > I thought this was a protest by Conservative coastal MPs. But when it comes to Farage and protest boats on Thames…
— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) March 21, 2018
One of the signatories, leading backbench Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, watched the fish being dumped from the side of the river below Parliament.
It is thought Mr Farage took up the mantle of chief fish dumper after Mr Rees-Mogg said earlier in the week that he would not be throwing them into the river.
The stunt initially ran into difficulties when the boat, the Holladays R8, was unable to moor at Embankment Pier.
Mr Farage is no fish out of water when it comes to Brexit protests on the Thames – he took part in the infamous flotilla demonstration ahead of the EU referendum in June 2016, clashing with Bob Geldof.
A spokesman for the Best for Britain campaign, Paul Butters, branded the fish-dumping stunt “embarrassing”.
Mr Butters said: “The Brexiteers are lost at sea with a stupid stunt like this. Today’s comedy of errors is a metaphor for their Brexit plans.
“The people who wanted Brexit are literally polluting the place with their never-ending complaint that it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.”
Prime minister Theresa May has been told by the 13 Tory MPs – and one DUP MP – that she must use this week’s European Council to insist that the UK will set its ow fisheries policy from the date of Brexit in March 2019 rather than from the end of the implementation period.
They said the “calamity” of joining the EU “cannot be compounded by compromise” during Brexit.
“These demands are completely unacceptable and would be rejected by the House of Commons,” they said.
“Leaving the European Union means setting our own fisheries policy from March 29 2019. The UK will not remain party to the CFP (common fisheries policy) during the proposed implementation period.”