It was billed as the ‘Battle of the Thames’.

On the one side Nigel Farage and a flotilla of vessels, stuffed with Scottish fisherman, taking their campaign for a Leave vote down the river and right to the heart of Westminster.

Against them, with just a handful of boats, rock star ‘Sir’ Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel and a host of stars arguing for a Remain vote.

The Ukip leader certainly had the larger presence on the water.

But, fittingly perhaps, Geldof’s team was judged to have had the best sound system as they sailed down the Thames to the, often repetitive, strains of Dobie Gray's “The in crowd”.

Amid the bizarre spectacle the issue was deadly serious - the anger felt in fishing communities, much of it directed at the European Union.

And there was controversy as it emerged that one of the ships was caught up in the Scotland's largest ever fraud involving illegal catches of fish.

Fisherman Aaron Brown, from Ayrshire, who accompanied Mr Farage on the protest said that the industry and his community had been badly hit by EU rules.

He invoked a war spirit as he said: "I hope my countrymen have the courage, like the men who went into the trenches, to say 'we are going to be a free nation again and we are going to flourish great and free'."

Greenpeace criticised the demonstration, saying that one of the boats involved, the Christina S, had been among a number of trawlers involved in the so-called ‘black fish’ scam in 2012.

More than a dozen fishermen based in Scotland were found guilty of an elaborate method to land fish caught outside EU quotas.

On the river there were angry scenes between Geldof and Mr Farage.

Addressing the Ukip leader over a PA system, Geldof told him: "You are no fisherman's friend."

He hit out at Mr Farage’s attendance rates at the European Parliament fisheries committee, when he went to just one out of 43 meetings.

"You are a fraud, Nigel. Go back down the river because you are up one without a canoe or a paddle," Mr Geldof told him.

But the Ukip leader, and his flotilla, were not for turning.

Addressing reporters accompanying him on the Thames, Mr Farage branded the Geldof protest "just disgusting".

He said that the Irishman was "deeply ignorant about how the Common Fisheries Policy works" and "it ill befits multi-millionaires coming to drown out ordinary men and women from the fishing industry who have come to have a fair say".

Mr Farage added: "We used to protest against the establishment and now the establishment protests against us. We must be getting something right."

The flotilla of around 30 vessels in total passed Parliament as David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn both spoke out over the EU at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Corbyn criticised the UK Government for giving the majority of its fishing quota to large companies, which he said had led to people "blaming Brussels".

The Prime Minister defended his government's actions saying that the UK fishing industry had grown by around 20 per cent thanks to its reforms.

The sector would be hit with tariffs on the sale of fish if Britain pulled out of the EU.

Despite the occasionally rowdy scenes, a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman described the event as "good natured on both sides".

The Port of London Authority (PLA) oversaw the vessels and spoke to Leave and Remain campaigners about excessive noise near HMS Belfast in the Pool of London.