Tory grassroots favourite Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested Britain sends a fragment of the union flag hoisted above Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory to show “by and large we win the battles”.
The MP and Brexit cheerleader made the perhaps tongue-in-cheek offering after French president Emmanuel Macron agreed to lend the Bayeux Tapestry to the UK.
The 70 metre (230ft) long tapestry depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror, and culminates in the Battle of Hastings.
It is the first time the artwork will have left France in 950 years.
Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, Rees-Mogg was asked if he was “excited” the tapestry is coming to Britain, and if he thought it was “maybe a bit cheeky of the French sending something celebrating the Norman victory over the British”. In response, he said:
“I think it is a splendid gesture. I’m sure many people will want to go to visit it. We could send them in return a fragment of the Union Jack from Nelson’s ship at Trafalgar - which was sold last week - as a reminder that by and large we win the battles.”
Labour peer and anti-Brexit campaigner Lord Adonis, also appearing on the show, chimed in: “Some people have suggested we send Jacob but the Bayeux Tapestry is much more recent in its views.”
Last week, a scrap of the historic flag sold for £297,000 at Sotheby’s. The flag is said to have flown aboard the ship during the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when Nelson defeated Napoleon’s French and Spanish ships.