The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters on Monday: “This new national flagship will boost British trade and drive investment into the economy.
“The procurement process, which is being done through the MoD, will reflect its wide-ranging use and so it will be funded through the MoD, as set out previously.”
The No 10 spokesman declined to comment on how the MoD could afford a yacht costing a reported £200 million, given its own equipment budget blackhole of £17 billion.
Pressed on reports the vessel could be classified as a “warship” and could have guns attached, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “We will set out the exact detail in due course but this is a trade ship, it is not a military vessel.”
Asked whether that meant it would not be a warship, he replied: “That’s correct.”
Earlier this month, Mr Johnson said the new vessel will promote British trade and industry around the world, Boris Johnson has said.
It will be used to host trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks as the UK seeks to build links and boost exports following Brexit.
It will be the first national flagship since Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 and is now berthed on Edinburgh’s Leith waterfront, but the new vessel will be a ship rather than a luxury yacht.
A name for the vessel has not been announced, but the Prime Minister has faced pressure from campaigners and Tory MPs to name it after the Duke of Edinburgh.