New yacht for Queen's jubilee, suggests Michael Gove

 
The Royal Yacht Britannia The last royal yacht, Britannia, was taken out of service in 1997

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Education Secretary Michael Gove has suggested the Queen should be given a new royal yacht to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The cabinet minister made the proposal in a letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, obtained by the Guardian.

He said the Queen's "highly significant contribution" to Britain and the Commonwealth should be recognised with a "lasting legacy".

Labour said the idea showed Mr Gove was "out of touch".

Mr Gove wrote: "In spite, and perhaps because of the austere times, the celebration should go beyond those of previous jubilees and mark the greater achievement that the diamond anniversary represents.

"Events such as proms and the party at the palace organised for the diamond jubilee, and street parties, although excellent, are transient.

"It would be appropriate to do something that will mark the significance of this occasion with fitting ceremony.

Start Quote

When school budgets are being slashed, parents will be wondering how Gove came even to suggest this idea”

End Quote Tom Watson Labour Party deputy chairman

"My suggestion would be a gift from the nation to her majesty; thinking about David Willetts's excellent suggestion of a royal yacht, and something tangible to commemorate this momentous occasion."

The last royal yacht, Britannia, served the Queen for 44 years, carrying her and the Royal Family on 968 official voyages before being taken out of service in 1997.

The ship is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh and is currently in dry dock undergoing repairs.

In his letter, Mr Gove also said the Diamond Jubilee celebrations should not be outshone by the London Olympic Games.

"The diamond jubilee must not be overshadowed by the Olympic Games, but form an integral part of this great year for our country," he said.

'Scarce resources'

Labour Party deputy chairman Tom Watson said: "We're all looking forward to the Diamond Jubilee. The significance of the occasion should be celebrated across the country.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg says he suspects the public would object to the idea of a new royal yacht

"But Michael Gove has shown he is out of touch with this proposal. When school budgets are being slashed, parents will be wondering how Gove came even to suggest this idea. This is not the time to spend £60m on a yacht."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he did not agree with the idea of the taxpayer funding a new royal yacht.

"I think most people in the country would think the Diamond Jubilee is a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate together as a community and as a nation.

"But I suspect most people in the country would think that given there's very little money around, this probably wouldn't be at the top of their list of priorities for the use of scarce public resources."

A spokesman for Mr Gove said the government did not comment on leaked documents.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: "The Diamond Jubilee will be an extraordinary occasion with communities across Britain, the Commonwealth and the world coming together to celebrate this landmark and pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.

"However from the outset, the Palace has been clear that the Diamond Jubilee celebrations should reflect the current economic climate."

 

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  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 418.

    It beggars belief that at a time of cut backs such an idea exists. Some deciding factors for moving to the town where I now live were that the town had a fire station, a police station and library. In the 2 years I have lived here, all three have either closed or are due to close. The cost of providing a Royal Yacht would not alter this fact, but it shows Mr Gove is out of touch with the public.

  • rate this
    -45

    Comment number 347.

    A great idea in my view. Sure, LOTS of people will object to the cost if it is all from public funds so why not arrange that after initial public funding to get things moving fast the capital cost can then be offset by public donations? I would add my contribution.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 271.

    People seem to be jumping the gun abit here.

    The Queen has not asked for a new Royal Yacht and the Government has not said it is going to order one! This just happens to be one person's opinion and last time I checked it was not against the law to have or air an opinion, however far fetched.

    Is Mr Gove's opinion stupid? In my opinion yes.
    Will it have happen? In my opinion no.

  • rate this
    -55

    Comment number 222.

    She makes the UK economy more more in a week then the cost of this boat. What's the big deal. She has been a great leader and ambassador for the UK and the Commonwealth

  • rate this
    +82

    Comment number 219.

    Queen Victoria had parks, hospitals, roads, stations etc named after her, places which are still used by the public in huge numbers, to this day. And Gove wants to mark this jubilee with a big boat. For one person. While our libraries etc are being closed because the nation can't afford them....

 

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