Fish in British waters are “better and happier” after Brexit, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The bizarre comment came amid a row over the Government’s support of the fishing industry.
Mr Rees-Mogg, responding to concerns from the SNP, told MPs: “What is happening is that the Government is tackling this issue, dealing with it as quickly as possible, and the key thing is we’ve got our fish back.
“They’re now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it.”
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle intervened and through laughter said: “Obviously there’s no overwhelming evidence for that.”
SNP Commons leader Tommy Sheppard earlier labelled it the “Brexit fishing disaster” and asked for a debate on compensation for the Scottish fishing industry.
He said: “Boats confined to harbour, lorry loads of seafood destroyed, the industry losing £1 million a day as firms go bust – all as a result of Brexit red tape imposed by this Government.
“Yet when asked about this yesterday, the Prime Minister refused to answer.”
Downing Street had said Boris Johnson maintains confidence in the fisheries minister after she admitted not reading the post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels when it was agreed because she was busy organising a Nativity trail.
Victoria Prentis faced calls for her to quit after the comments, but the Prime Minister is standing by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) minister.
Asked if her jaw had dropped when she saw the deal with the EU on Christmas Eve, Ms Prentis told the Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee: “No, the agreement came when we were all very busy on Christmas Eve, in my case organising the local Nativity trail.
“We had been waiting and waiting, it looked like it was coming for probably four days before it actually arrived."
Jacob Rees-Mogg had also attracted criticism for reportedly breaking the Government’s coronavirus rules and crossing tiers to attend a Latin church service.
The Leader of the Commons, a devout Catholic, was allegedly seen attending St Mary’s catholic church in Glastonbury on Sunday, before the national lockdown was imposed.
The church was in a Tier 4 area, fifteen miles from Mr Rees-Mogg’s manor house in Tier 3 West Harptree.