A contentious plan to construct a brand new royal yacht has been scrapped, the defence secretary has confirmed.
The successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was anticipated to value round £200m, was introduced by Boris Johnson in May 2021.
Mr Johnson, the prime minister on the time, mentioned it could replicate “the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation” after Brexit.
The flagship was going to be named after the late Duke of Edinburgh, and used to host commerce festivals, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks because the UK sought to construct hyperlinks and increase exports.
Speaking within the Commons immediately, Ben Wallace, whose division was on account of fund the undertaking, instructed MPs he was prioritising the procurement of the multirole ocean surveillance ship (MROSS) as a substitute and had cancelled the competitors to construct the boat.
“In the face of the Russian illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s reckless disregard of international arrangements designed to keep world order, it is right that we prioritise delivering capabilities which safeguard our national infrastructure,” he mentioned.
The constructing of the multimillion-pound vessel had been closely criticised by MPs and friends over whether or not it was worth for cash, particularly after the general public purse had been squeezed through the pandemic.
Last 12 months, the Commons Defence Committee warned there was “no evidence of the advantage to the Royal Navy of acquiring the national flagship” and that the value tag, in addition to working prices, would add to the stress on the service.
Shadow defence secretary John Healey welcomed the scrapping of the “previous prime minister’s vanity project” and that spending was being given to “purposes that will help defend the country”.
Its cancellation comes forward of an autumn assertion on 17 November, through which Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor are anticipated to announce a raft of spending cuts to fill within the £60bn black gap within the public funds.
The pair have been tight-lipped about what different measures might be launched, and whether or not commitments such because the pensions triple lock might be stored in place.
Both have promised the bulletins might be “compassionate” to these most in want.
Asked in regards to the prime minister’s perspective of scrapping the boat, Mr Sunak’s official spokesman mentioned he “thinks it is right to prioritise at a time when difficult spending decisions need to be made” and “finances are tight”.
Mr Wallace instructed MPs he would maintain talks with Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt this week in an try and safe funding to “protect our armed forces and our current plans from inflation” within the upcoming assertion.