North Wiltshire MP James Gray has backed the campaign for a new royal yacht to project the UK's unique soft power and influence around the globe now that we are leaving the European Union.
Mr Gray said:
“Now is the time to consider how post-Brexit Britain projects herself on the world stage.”
“The view of many people around the country is that the Government should commission a new Royal Yacht Britannia. It would be designed and built in the UK to showcase post-Brexit Britain and bring trade to our shores.”
“That’s why I am pleased to support this campaign and urge the Government to ‘Bring Back Britannia’.”
The previous Royal Yacht - HMY Britannia - was controversially decommissioned by Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 1997 after more than 40 years in service.
HMY Britannia conducted 968 official visits and clocked up more than a million miles at sea. On her last deployment to the Far East commercial trade deals worth some £2.75bn were signed on board to the benefit of the UK.
Paid for by a new lottery along with other complementary sources of funding, there will be no call upon departmental budgets to pay for the vessel which is estimated to cost around £120m.
And in a letter organised by Craig Mackinlay MP and supported by 50 MPs, including Mr Gray, the MPs envisage both Government Ministers and the Royal Family alike could host diplomatic and commercial events on the new Royal Yacht to further raise Britain’s profile internationally and secure new trade opportunities.
South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, commented:
“The new Royal Yacht must belong to the state so it has the benefit of diplomatic immunity when it visits international harbours around the globe. It has to fly the white ensign because it is crucial that it is crewed by our Royal Navy. And it has to have a strong connection with our royal family as that is the unique quality that will make its service to our nation succeed.
“To be achievable, we need to generate the money to build a new Royal Yacht. One way of doing this might be to establish a new national lottery to help pay for the new vessel and that is what I am urging the Government to introduce. And as there will be no call upon departmental budgets, we will be investigating other complementary sources of funding from business leaders who are supportive of the project.”