Children's comic Beano accuses Jacob Rees-Mogg of copying character Walter the Softy

Long running comic book Beano has issued a "cease and desist" letter to MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, accusing him of "masquerading" as their character Walter Brown.

Citing a copyright infringement over character Walter the Softy's "intellectual property rights", Beano Studios said the MP had copied Walter's "snootiness", his "hair parting" and his efforts to stop others having fun.

It also said Mr Rees-Mogg ripped-off Walter's round glasses, spotty ties and enjoyment of classical music.

The North East Somerset MP responded to the allegations, saying he was "flattered" by the comparison.

In the letter, head of Beano Studios Mike Stirling wrote: "It is evident that there are numerous instances whereby you have adopted trademarked imagery and brand essences of the character to the benefit of enhancing your career and popularity.

The eurosceptic Conservative backbencher responded on Twitter, writing: "I am flattered to be accused by the Beano's legal eagles of imitating Walter the Softy whose powerful physical prowess is so much greater than my own."

Mr Stirling said the similarities between Walter and Mr Rees-Mogg had been spotted by young readers of the comic and its website.

He said it was clear that Walter had devised his trademark style first, as he first appeared in the Beano in 1953, 16 years before Mr Rees-Mogg's birth in 1969.

"We were flattered when we discovered that Jacob Rees-Mogg has dedicated his life to impersonating one of my favourite Beano characters, young Walter," Mr Stirling said.

Mr Sterling jokingly threatened the MP, telling him a "swift response on this matter would be greatly appreciated to avoid getting Teacher involved."

He added: "we would prefer the public gets its Walter fix in the pages of our comics and on, rather than played out on the political stage. In other words, bog off Rees-Mogg!"

Beano, which celebrates its 80th birthday this year, is the longest running British children's comic and old copies can sell for thousands.

In 2015 an original Beano comic sold for £15,200, with auctioneer fees added on, the overall price paid was £17,300.