Boris Johnson drew upon Star Trek to defend Brexit as he replied to Sir Patrick Stewart’s belief that Jean-Luc Picard would have backed Remain.
The Foreign Secretary part-quoted one of the sci-fi franchise’s famous lines as he claimed Brexit will enable the UK to “boldly go” to areas it has neglected in recent years as it seeks trade deals.
Mr Johnson also dismissed Sir Patrick as having had “something in Star Wars” when faced with questions about the new People’s Vote campaign, which is pushing for voters to be given the final say rather than Parliament on the deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sir Patrick is among those campaigners and politicians from across the spectrum who is supporting a “people power” rally in London.
The campaign brings together nine grassroots campaigning organisations in a joint push for a vote.
The actor described his two best known characters – Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard and X-men’s Charles Xavier – as “admirable” individuals who were “concerned for the well-being of everyone”.
Sir Patrick, before the event, also told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show that the calls for a fresh vote were “part of the democratic process”.
Asked what he would say to people who voted for Brexit, he said “what we are doing is in their benefit”.
Sir Patrick said Jeremy Corbyn is a “puzzle” to him after he was pressed on how the Labour leader had sacked shadow cabinet members who have differing views on Brexit.
On Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, he added: “(They) were excellent, admirable individuals. Yes, intellectuals but also compassionate and concerned for the well-being of everyone.
“They would have voted Remain.”
Mr Johnson mentioned Star Wars before telling the same programme: “We will be able to boldly go again to areas that perhaps we’ve neglected over the last 45 years.”
Mr Johnson dismissed Mr Marr’s jokey suggestions that these places are “full of dangerous alien spacecraft waiting to zap us”, replying: “On the contrary, friendly, wonderful places where we can renew old friendships, rebuild relationships and develop fantastic new free trade deals.”