Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Boris Johnson’s plans for a new royal yacht are not in the “realms of reality” as he suggested it should be scrapped.
The Business Secretary described it as a “ship that has sailed”, as he said the “glorious distraction” set to cost £250 million could not go ahead in a cost-of-living crisis.
However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the design phase for a new national flagship is due to be completed with an announcement expected to follow.
When prime minister, Mr Johnson had described a new national flagship as a chance for the UK to “show itself off to the world” and “revive the shipbuilding industry”.
Labour had said the plan for a ship to succeed the Royal Yacht Britannia should be scrapped. The money had been set to come from the Ministry of Defence budget.
Mr Rees-Mogg told a recording of the Chopper’s Politics for the Telegraph: “I think it’s a glorious distraction I’m afraid.
“It’s too late, it was wonderful whilst it lasted but there are lots of things that Tories have a sentimental attachment to but once they’ve gone it’s impossible to bring back.
“I think the royal yacht is in that category and we are facing a cost-of-living problem, I just don’t think it’s in the realms of reality to have a royal yacht when you’re facing a cost-of-living problem.
“Dare I say I think it is a ship that has sailed.”
An MoD spokeswoman said: “The design phase for the national flagship is due to be completed soon and an announcement will be made in due course.”