Boris Johnson’s new flagship royal yacht could now cost taxpayers £250m

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Ben Wallace speaks ahead of deployment

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The Government published a document last week that put the budget for the yacht at £150m, but reports have indicated that it could reach £200m. However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has now given a “firm price” for the “floating embassy” that will stand between £200m and £250m. Boris Johnson announced the plan for the ship back in May.

The successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia will be used for hosting events such as trade fairs and diplomatic meetings.

The project will be funded from the Ministry of Defence’s budget.

Labour’s shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has responded to the budget comments from Mr Wallace by saying that his party would scrap the government’s “pet project”.

Mr Thomas-Symonds added that the prime minister had “lost control of his vanity yacht”, calling for the money to be invested “wisely” on projects such as tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Wallace spoke at an “engagement day” to discuss the flagship on Wednesday in London.

He said that there had been “a lot of reporting around this ship, not all of it accurate” so wanted to set out the Government’s “basic aims” for the vessel.

The defence secretary added: “Subject to working through bids, competition and technology, I aim to commission the ship for between £200m and £250m on a firm price.

“The competition will run until the end of October. I hope to announce the winners in December.”

Mr Wallace also confirmed that he wants the construction to begin “in a British shipyard as early as next year and have a ship in the water by 2024 or 2025″.

He said: “That’s an ambitious timescale but this is an ambitious project, the chance to break the mould and break some records to get things done in the national interest.”

The news comes after Boris Johnson received huge backlash earlier this month after it was announced that the flagship could be designed and built abroad.

A prior information notice released by the Ministry of Defence stated that the ship will provide a platform for British products to be promoted more widely.

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The ship will be one of its kind, and the statement clearly said that it is “to be built and commissioned by the UK”.

However, the Government is not limiting itself only to British manufacturers.

The Prime Minister would prefer if the flagship was built in the UK, but the first phase would be open to “international competition to ensure that we can procure a world-class design”.

For many people, the thought of giving money away to other countries, while the UK industry is struggling, is infuriating.

Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative MP for Bournemouth East and Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee told earlier this month: “It must be built in the UK.

“This is all about showcasing cutting-edge British design, engineering and green technology. That’s what this flagship is designed to do.”

He continued: “To go around the world and be a statement about global Britain. It doesn’t start off well if you design or build the ship overseas.

“So let’s make sure that we produce something which is British to its core.”

He added: “The recent cuts to our ships, planes, and tanks, and troops show that the money is tight.

“We simply haven’t got the luxury to spend £200million on a stand-alone vessel.”

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