£200m for new national flagship to promote British trade

A new national flagship is to be commissioned by the government in a bid to boost British trade and industry globally, the prime minister has said.

The government plans to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of £200m, according to BBC News.

The vessel would be used to host trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks as the UK seeks to build links and boost exports following Brexit. It would be the first national flagship since Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997, but the new vessel would be a ship rather than a luxury yacht.

The Guardian reports that a name for the vessel has not been announced, but Boris Johnson is facing pressure from campaigners and Tory MPs to name it after the Duke of Edinburgh, who played a role in designing Britannia.

“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,” says Johnson.

Unveiling his bold plan, according to The Express, the Prime Minister says: “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.”

The tendering process for the design and construction will begin soon with an emphasis on using British design expertise and the latest green technology. Construction is set to start as early as 2022, with the ship entering service within the next four years. The vessel will be crewed by the Royal Navy and is expected to be in service for around 30 years.

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