The privately funded vessel would be employed in a bid to display ‘the soft power of our nation around the world’ minister Jake Berry told The Daily Telegraph.
The minister said he and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox thought the boat would be a “great thing”.
While the money for its construction would come from private donors, there are anticipated to be around £10m in annual running costs. The previous royal yacht, HMY Britannia, was decommissioned in 1997.
Mr Berry said:
“It would be a fantastic opportunity to show the best of British manufacturing on a global scale.
Anything we can do to support the conception of global Britain, do free trade deals, support businesses across the north of England and elsewhere, I do think we should give consideration to.”
In March, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:
“It is my view that it would indeed add greatly to the soft power of this country, a soft power which is already very considerable. The new Britannia should not be a call on the taxpayer, if it can be done privately I am sure it would attract overwhelming support.”
In 1997, the Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party refused to disclose its plans for the vessel. After Labour won the general election in May 1997, it announced the vessel was to be retired and no replacement would be built.
The previous government had argued that the cost was justified by its role in foreign policy and promoting British interests. It was estimated by the Overseas Trade Board that events held on board the yacht helped raise £3 billion for the treasury between 1991 and 1995 alone.
The new government said the expenditure could not be justified given other pressures on the defence budget, from which a replacement vessel would have been funded and maintained.
Proposals for the construction of a new royal yacht, perhaps financed through a loan or by the Queen’s own funds, have so far made little headway.
A Downing Street spokesperson said this morning however:
“There are no plans for a new (royal) yacht and it is not on our agenda.”