EXCL: New Royal Yacht Britannia would ‘unite’ the country after Brexit, says minister
A new Royal Yacht Britannia would act as a boon to the UK’s international trade and “unite” the country following the bitter divisions of the Brexit debate, a government minister has said.
In an interview with The House magazine, Jake Berry argued the vessel would “bring our country back together” and help drive the UK’s overseas trade policy outside the European Union.
He said: “The rebuilding of the Royal Yacht Britannia is not government policy. However, my personal view about it is in a post-Brexit environment it could play a real role in driving international trade.
“Things like that can provide new symbols of unity that we could potentially use to bring our country back together, something we could be proud of, something we could unite behind.
“President Obama said that there were… ‘only two people I really admire in this world and that’s Nelson Mandela and Her Majesty the Queen’.
“Absolutely, he was right about both of those extraordinary global political giants. A new royal yacht could be something which we could unite behind. But, as I say, it’s not government policy.”
The Northern Powerhouse minister spearheaded efforts for a new Royal Yacht when on the backbenches, but the Government did not support his plans. Britannia, the Queen’s former yacht, was decommissioned more than 20 years ago and has acted as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh since 1998.
Speaking to the Telegraph in 2017, the minister said he had conversations with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox about commissioning a new royal yacht dubbed “Brexit-annia”.