Calls made for new 'national flagship' to be based in Portsmouth like the Royal Yacht Britannia

THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has called for the proposed new ‘national flagship’ to be based in the city.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 1:49 pm
The Royal Yacht Britannia Picture: Jenny Vincent

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson has written to prime minister Boris Johnson requesting that the planned successor for the Royal Yacht Britannia be moored at the the city’s Royal Navy base.

He said Portsmouth, being the closest of the UK’s three naval bases to London, made it the best choice.

The ship was announced by the government earlier this year as the first national flagship since 1997 when the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned.

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And now, in a letter to the Prime Minister, the leader of Portsmouth City Council has called for it to follow in the wake of its predecessor by being based in the city.

‘The previous ship to perform this, and other duties, was HMS Britannia, which was based in Portsmouth for the whole of her career,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said. ‘Portsmouth is the home of the Royal Navy and this new ship will be a naval ship.

‘The majority of the surface fleet is based in Portsmouth, including the flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

‘My understanding is that this new ship will be used by Ministers, members of the Royal Family and leading industrialists to showcase the UK around the world.

‘Of all the three naval bases in the UK, Portsmouth is the closest to London and therefore allows easier access for the people who will be using this new ship.

‘For all of these reasons I am asking for an early decision to be taken that the new ship should follow in the footsteps of HMS Britannia and be home ported in HM Naval Base, Portsmouth.’

Construction of the ship could begin next year and the government has said it would enter commission ‘within the next four years’.

Announcing the flagship, which will be a ship rather than a yacht like its successor, in May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would be used to ‘host trade events and promote UK interests around the world’.

‘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,’ he said.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said last month that the ship could cost up to £250m.