Andrew Rosindell – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Rosindell on 2016-10-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the possible diplomatic benefits of recommissioning HM Yacht Britannia.

Alok Sharma

The Government is determined to make a success of our global role in the world, but re-commissioning the Royal Yacht Britannia is not on our agenda, nor is commissioning a new yacht. There was a debate in Westminster Hall about this very topic on 11 October which aired a range of issues including feasibility and cost. My Rt Hon Friend, the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson MP), the Foreign Secretary, also told the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on 13 October that he hoped a consortium of philanthropists would come forward to finance the cost of a new yacht.

The former Royal Yacht was used on just 37 occasions for trade promotion and signing trade deals during the last seven years of its commission (1989-1997) and only 27 trips were made overseas – four times per year. There is no evidence that the yacht made a difference to the trade deals secured in these years and this level of use would not represent a good return on investment.

The Government does not have potential costs for the reintroduction of the Royal Yacht Britannia or building of a new royal yacht because neither a feasibility study nor a review has been carried out since the decommissioning of the Britannia in 1997.

We shall continue to make full use of the FCO global network of nearly 270 embassies, high commissions and consulates to promote UK interests overseas. We shall also continue to make full use of existing Royal Navy ships for promotional purposes when they are in foreign ports.