Kettering MP backs calls for lottery to fund £120m yacht

The Royal Yacht Britannia sailing into Portsmouth for the last time in 1997. Credit Rebecca Naden/PA Wire
The Royal Yacht Britannia sailing into Portsmouth for the last time in 1997. Credit Rebecca Naden/PA Wire
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Kettering MP Philip Hollobone is one of 50 to pledge his support for a £120m public-funded Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Tory says recomissioning the yacht will create jobs, win international trade deals and create revenue for the country’s pressed services.

Philip Hollobone - UK Parliament official portraits 2017 NNL-170726-161825005

Philip Hollobone - UK Parliament official portraits 2017 NNL-170726-161825005

Mr Hollobone said: “There’s no doubt that the Royal Family is one of Britain’s finest assets and is highly regarded around the world.

“The prestige of the Royal Family can be projected through a new Royal yacht which would undoubtedly help us attract fresh international interest in Britain.

“It would help us win those valuable international trade deals which will help our exporters grow and provide valuable new jobs for people back at home as well as extra revenue for our hard pressed public services.”

The previous yacht was used by the Queen and the Royal Family until 1997 and is now berthed as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh.

The group of MPs suggested that one way of raising the funds for the yacht could be through a new lottery game, paid for by the public.

Mr Hollobone, who was re-elected for the third time at June’s snap General Election, agreed that it would be a good way to do so.

He said: “The lottery funds a very large number of good causes and I would encourage it to also consider funding this initiative.”

The letter, spearheaded by MP Craig Mackinlay and signed by MPs including the Rt Hon Grant Schapps, was sent to ministers Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Tracey Crouch.

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

“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.”

It was not signed by Wellingborough MP Peter Bone or Corby MP Tom Pursglove, or any of the other Northamptonshire MPs.

The suggestion has come under heavy criticism from opposition MPs who say it would not be the best use of money.

SNP MP Deidre Brock, whose Edinburgh North and Leith constituency is home to the Royal Yacht 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.

She told our sister paper the i: “It sometimes seems all part of a Tory grand plan to drag the UK back to the 50s – the 1850s that is.

“Of course the Royal Yacht Britannia is a fantastic tourist attraction in Leith in my constituency, but the Tory obsession that a new yacht will somehow magically deliver them trade deals is simply bizarre.”