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Friday, December 29th, 2017

Could Lottery Fund New Royal Superyacht Britannia ?

The British Government then lead by the Labour party decommissioned the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1997 when the then Prime Minister Tony Blair opted not to pay for on going repairs and maintenance for the ship.

During her 40 years of service, Britannia took part in 968 official visits, travelling over one million miles at sea.

She was used by the Queen and the Royal family on many of their travels abroad up until 1997.

Upon the return from her final overseas tour on the ship, the Queen was seen to shed a tear as she said goodbye to the yacht.

Now a group of 50 Conservative MPs have urged the Government to create a new Royal Yacht Britannia to “showcase” a post-Brexit Britain.

The MPs have written to ministers in Theresa May’s cabinet urging them to raise funds for a new £120million yacht.

The letter calling for a replacement vessel, first written by Craig Mackinlay, went on to address the issue of funding.

It said: “One way of doing this would 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.”

The letter said: “As we leave the European Union, there has never been a better time to consider how Britain projects herself on the world stage.

It continued: “There would be no call upon departmental budgets and it would be the people of the UK through the unique funding method who would have the pride of having a stake in her.”

It added: “We believe that now is the time to commission a new Royal Yacht Britannia as a new symbol of global Britain, designed and built domestically to showcase the best of UK shipbuilding and industry, and as a platform for promoting trade.”

Four former Government ministers including Andrew Murrison, a former Defence Minister, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, a Parliamentary private secretary in the Defence department, all signed the note.

The MPs went on to say: ”Our country needs and deserves a floating Royal Palace that can be used to host meetings and exhibitions to showcase the best of British business and project our humanitarian role across the globe.”

Those who have added their name to letter said the new lottery game would allow the public to feel the pride of having a stake in a British built superyacht which would “showcase the best of British business and project our humanitarian role across the globe” after Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, and culture minister, Tracey Crouch, were all recipients of the letter.

Members of the Tory party are not the only ones vocally supporting a new yacht. The last captain of Britannia, Anthony Morrow, has also thrown his weight behind the campaign.

He said: “A new initiative for a Royal Yacht to replace Britannia is to be warmly welcomed and it would be wonderful to see this come about.”

Others however have warned the MPs to rethink their suggestion, as British families face an “ever-tightening squeeze” in an era of austerity.

SNP MP Deidre Brock, whose Edinburgh North and Leith constituency is home to the now museumised Britannia, questioned if the project was “truly the best idea” Tory MPs could develop as families face an “ever-tightening squeeze” on their household incomes.

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