Brexiteers say new yacht will help Brexit Britain’s economy recover from coronavirus

Boris Johnson salutes from the deck of a tall ship. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Boris Johnson salutes from the deck of a tall ship. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA. - Credit: PA

Hardline Brexiteers - including Mark Francois - have claimed that a new royal yacht will help secure international trade deals after Brexit, and in turn help Britain recover from the economic impact of coronavirus.

The new yacht - a successor to the Britannia vessel which was decommissioned by the Tories in 1994 and never replaced - has been hailed by Brexiteers as a symbol of the country's new post-Brexit freedoms and opportunities.

Supporters claim it will allow royals and other dignitaries free access to ports. They have argued the economic growth would make the £100 million worth the price tag, despite a tightening of purse strings following the pandemic.

Mark Francois, the chair of the European Research Group and a former defence minister, claimed it will be a 'real asset' to showcasing Brexit Britain.

He 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.'

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'I have never wavered in my view that the quicker this country got another royal yacht the better,' said Brexiteer peer Digby Jones. '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'.'

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'The most powerful multi-multibillionaire would do anything to get an invite. It was an incredibly stupid decision to get rid of Britannia,' claimed former environment secretary Owen Paterson.

Former Brexit Party MEP John Longworth 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.'

Boris Johnson as foreign secretary supported the proposal on the basis it is privately funded, claiming that it would 'add greatly to the soft power of this country'.

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