MPs call for Brexit Britannia to set sail in ploy to boost trade deals abroad
There was sadness in 1994 when John Major's government decided not to refit Britannia, then dismay when Tony Blair refused to replace the iconic vessel.
Brexiteers say it is time to right a colossal mistake and, in Nigel Farage's words, "reverse the vandalism of Blair". As foreign secretary, Boris Johnson backed a new yacht if it could be funded privately, saying it would "add greatly to the soft power of this country".
Lord Jones, CBI director general from 2000 to 2006 and a senior trade minister from 2007 to 2009, says it should be funded by the National Lottery, the private sector and the taxpayer.
"I have never wavered in my view that the quicker this country got another royal yacht the better," he said. "The last thing on earth it would be is a bastion of privilege.
"Coming out of Covid, and leaving the European Union, I cannot think of a better way in which we can tell the world, 'We're back, we're here to stay, and we're here to take our proper position'."
Former defence minister Mark Francois said: "Economically, we cannot tax our way out of Covid-19 so we will have to grow our way out, in which case a new royal yacht, as a floating embassy, but with strict biosecurity measures built in, would be a real asset in helping British business showcase ourselves."
In 44 years, Britannia called at more than 600 ports in 135 countries. Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: "The most powerful multi-multibillionaire would do anything to get an invite. It was an incredibly stupid decision to get rid of Britannia."
John Longworth, former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, stressed the importance of a royal yacht in post-Covid reality. He said: "It is important in this era that our leaders have access to top-rate medical facilities if we expect them to represent us around the world. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/12894 ... trade-deal