Jeremy Hunt axes plans for Royal Flagship
Boris Johnson’s ‘vanity project’ has officially been canceled…
The national flagship project that was proposed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May of last year has been axed by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt. The £250 million vessel was put forward to help boost British economic growth and promote British values overseas. Its predecessor, HMY Britannica, was decommissioned in 1997 and serves as a tourist attraction to Edinburgh’s port in Leith.
Johnson first expressed enthusiasm for the project in the house of commons in 2017 believing it would garner “overwhelming support”. At the time the project was priced at £100 million but ballooned to £250 million. YouGov polls indicate Johnson's prediction was not on par with public opinion.
The Defence Secretary has confirmed plans to build a new £200 million Royal Yacht, named after the late Prince Philip, have been scrapped. pic.twitter.com/2Eo8bwz8RW— Royal Reporter (@RoyalReporterUK) November 7, 2022
YouGov’s survey found that only 29% of the British public were in favour of bringing back a royal yacht. It is fair to say that among the rising cost of living crisis, public opinion would indicate similar or lower levels of support today. The project had proved unpopular among sections of government with critics dubbing it Jonson’s 'vanity project'. According to the Guardian, even the royal family were not supportive of the idea - the Duke of Edinburgh, whom the vessel was initially planned to be named after, was quoted calling it “not something we have asked for”.
The project had already incurred fees of £2.5million towards staff and consultants, a portion of which went to Burgess Yachts. Quoted in the Times, a spokesperson for the global leader in luxury yachts said it would bring ‘50 years of knowledge and experience in the yachting sector to the project’. However, Hunt swiftly binned the project as part of his spending cuts, while Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the scrapping of the project by telling MPs he would prioritise a 'multi-role ocean surveillance ship' (MROSS) instead of the flagship.
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