By politics.co.uk staff
Robin Hood's heroic status in British culture is open to debate, a leading Conservative MP has said.
Speaking in a debate on the finance bill, Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested the famous outlaw's propensity to steal from the church undermined his reputation.
Speaking out against campaigners' attempt to secure a tax on international financial transactions, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "I encourage Her Majesty's government to avoid any of this nonsense about a Robin Hood tax.
"Robin Hood was not as good as he was made out to be - particularly for the sheriff of Nottingham - but even if such a tax were as heroic as the late Robin Hood, it would still be a very bad tax for this country."
Fellow Conservative Steve Baker then asked: "I was just wondering whether my honourable friend would agree that Robin Hood actually took from the state to give back to the people."
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "I am not entirely sure that that is what he did. I think he also stole from the church, which is why I have my doubts about him; I am not really in favour of people pinching things from holy mother Church."
The iconic left-wing figure is used by the Robin Hood tax campaign to fight for a modification of the Tobin tax which would target the purchase and sale of stocks, bonds and commodities.
But despite his propensity to 'steal from the rich to give to the poor', the Robin Hood legend is widely read by almost everyone as a child, although the last attempt to turn it into a cinematic epic - courtesy of British director Ridley Scott - flopped at the box office and was panned by critics.