Published: 10:32, 28 December 2017
A campaign led by MP Craig Mackinlay to commission a new royal yacht has been backed by around 50 MPs.
A letter sent to ministers urging the government to support the project was co-signed by supporting MPs.
The MPs argue that, as the UK leaves the European Union, now is the time for 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.
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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, he has said.
The previous royal yacht - HMY Britannia - was controversially decommissioned by Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997 after more than 40 years in service.
A secret naval design for a replacement for Britannia was drawn up by naval staff and approved by representatives of the Royal Family but the Labour Government refused to pay for it.
HMY Britannia, which is now a visitor attraction in Edinburgh, 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 of some £2.75bn were signed on board to the benefit of the UK.
The South Thanet MP envisages that both Government ministers and the Royal Family alike could host diplomatic and commercial events on the vessel.
Mr Mackinlay said: “As we leave the European Union, there has never been a better time to consider how Britain projects herself on the world stage.
"The view of many MPs and people around the country is that the Government should commission a new Royal Yacht Britannia designed and built domestically to showcasing post-Brexit Britain and bringing trade to our shores.
“To be achievable, we need to generate the money to build a new Royal Yacht – an estimated £120m.
"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.
“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.
LISTEN: Craig Mackinlay campaigning for new royal yacht
"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.
“Britain remains the third largest maritime power in the world and we have a unique history and connection with the sea.
"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.”
Kent MPs who have backed the move include Sir Roger Gale, Tom Tugendhat, Gordon Henderson and Adam Holloway.
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