Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has called for the recommissioning of the Royal Yacht, which was decommissioned in 1997 under Tony Blair.
The Royal Yacht Britannia first set sail in 1954 for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was the 83rd such British Royal Yacht; a tradition dating back to Charles II in 1660. But since 1997, no Royal Yacht has been in service.
In nearly half a century of service, Britannia undertook 968 royal visits around the globe. In doing so, it played an integral role in forging Britain’s foreign and international trade policy.
Mr Evans signed a letter, floated by Jake Berry MP, in support of reintroducing HMY Britannia. Speaking on the matter, Nigel said,
“In the 1990s, Britannia helped to secure roughly £3 billion of trade deals for the UK, and that is in less than a decade. It was more than just a symbolic vessel. It served a very real purpose and that purpose was quite clearly beneficial to Britain as a whole.
“Post-Brexit, securing trade deals around the globe is a priority and a matter which should be approached with relish. Recommissioning the Royal Yacht would be one of the best ways of facilitating these trade deals. It would be a gigantic advertisement that Britain is open for business. A new ship could help make new trade relationships, reinforce old ones, and generally show off what Britain has to offer.
“Britannia always drew in international businessmen and women as well as figureheads with national recognition, like Nelson Mandela or the President of the United States.”
The idea of reintroducing the Royal Yacht has also been commented on by the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, who did not rule out the return of the vessel. The PM mentioned that it was part of our rich British heritage as a trading nation. Mr Evans concurred,
“Britain should be a globally trading power and the Royal Yacht should be the mouthpiece for this. What is more, the ship could, and should, be built in British shipyards bringing further employment to our shores. This is an opportunity which should not be passed up.”