BORIS Johnson’s government will build a new flagship to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia at a reported cost of £200 million.

It will be the UK’s first flagship since the luxury yacht, which was decommissioned in 1997.

The Tory government intends to use the ship for trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks.

Johnson said the ship will show off the “best of British”. No name has been announced for the vessel though there has been pressure from Tory MPs to name it after the Duke of Edinburgh, who was involved in designing the Britannia.

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Announcing the plans, the Prime Minister said: “This new national flagship will be the first vessel of its kind in the world, reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.

“Every aspect of the ship, from its build to the businesses it showcases on board, will represent and promote the best of British – a clear and powerful symbol of our commitment to be an active player on the world stage.”

Earlier this month when plans were floated, Scotland’s political leaders did not welcome the proposals.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie called the idea an “absurdity” while Nicola Sturgeon, Anas Sarwar and Willie Rennie dismissed it during an election debate.

Douglas Ross said he would only support the proposals if they were funded by private finance.

The National:

The announcement of the vessel comes at the end of a difficult week for the Prime Minister, which has seen him savaged by former aide Dominic Cummings, who claimed the Government was responsible for tens of thousands of needless deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.

He has also faced claims that his past comments about burka-wearing women had contributed to an impression that the Conservative Party is “insensitive to Muslim communities”.

And the ministerial sleaze watchdog said he was “unwise” to allow the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat to go ahead without “more rigorous regard for how this would be funded”.