Britannia decommissioning
Queen Elizabeth with Prince Philip, wipes away a tear at the decommissioning service for the HMS Britannia at Portsmouth harbour Reuters

The government has dismissed calls by several Tory MPs to commission a new royal yacht or to bring back iconic British vessel, The Britannia.

The ship, which was used by the Royal Family as well as to promote UK trade and industry is now a floating tourist attraction in Leith, Edinburgh.

International Trade Secretary Mike Garnier said:" We have to be clear the government has no plans and has had no plans to commission a new royal yacht, and as such it is very, very unlikely indeed that the government will use taxpayers' money to fund a royal commission or an investigation into whether we could commission a new royal yacht."

He said that there were "hard facts which stand in the way of a new yacht," which includes the £120m cost and the funds needed to operate and maintain the vessel.

While acknowledging that the Britannia was an "iconic symbol," he ruled out recommissioning the vessel, which was taken out of service in 1997. "Clearly it's well past its active life," he said, according to the BBC.

Jake Berry, the Tory MP who pushed for the royal yacht campaign in Parliament said: "I believe if Brexit is going to mean successful Brexit, it should also mean the return of our royal yacht."

He suggested private financing rather than public funding for the project, saying that he prefers a new yacht built in Britain that would be "a thoroughly modern ship, reflecting a modern nation and in fact a modern monarchy which is willing and able to service Britain across the globe."

A tug boat pulls the Royal Yacht Britannia as it sits at its berth at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, Scotland. Reuters

He was backed by Sir Gerald Howard who said that "...Brexit makes the building of a new royal yacht not a luxury but a must-have."

The former defence minister said watching Queen Elizabeth's sadness at the decommissioning of the royal vessel was "one of the darker moments of my political life."

Sir Gerald said that UK trade negotiators would be taken more seriously if they arrived in a "brand new symbol of our newly reasserted national sovereignty." He is proposing the yacht be operated by the Royal Navy, with the costs of maintaining it shared between the defence, business, foreign and international development departments.

Proposal slammed by both Scottish National Party and Labour

SNP's Deirdre Brock slammed the proposal as a "wistful throwback". She said those disadvantaged were being left to go cold and hungry and that the new yacht will be seen as "a new pleasure cruiser for the royal family."

Similarly, Labour's shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner took the proposal to task, saying the Tory government should be focusing on Brexit and not "playing with toy boats as virility symbols."