18/01/2012 12:09 GMT

Royal Yacht: MPs Call On Government To Appoint Minister To Look Into Privately Funding Queen's Diamond Jubilee Boat

The government should appoint a royal yacht minister to look at the options for building a new privately-funded vessel to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee, according to a group of MPs.

Michael Gove caused controversy this week after suggesting a new £100m yacht could be seen as "a gift from the nation to her majesty" to mark her 60 years on the throne.

David Cameron ruled out spending any public money on the yacht but supported the project, which could provide education and training for young people, scientific research facilities, a venue for trade missions and staterooms for the Royal Family.

Conservative MP Julian Brazier, co-chairman of the All-Party Ports and Maritime Group, Kate Hoey, a former Labour minister, and Liberal Democrat MP Sir Bob Russell called on the government today to appoint a minister to look at building the yacht "without recourse to public funds".

In an early day motion, which will not be debated in parliament, they said: "The former Royal Yacht Britannia played a major role in British diplomacy and trade promotion, as well as providing a suitable transport for Her Majesty on visits to Commonwealth and foreign nations.

"A replacement royal yacht could further play a valuable role for sea cadets and other youngsters for sail training and science projects.

"Britain is a premier builder of both motor and sailing vessels, exporting them all over the world."

The group called on the government "to appoint a minister to examine options, through sponsorship and donation, for producing a suitable Royal Yacht in this jubilee year, without recourse to public funds, as a tribute to the Queen, an asset for our overseas influence, an engine for exports and an opportunity for young people".

Gove told MPs earlier this week that he never advocated the use of public money to fund the yacht.

Nick Clegg has said although the diamond jubilee was a "wonderful occasion" he was unsure if a yacht was a good use of public money. "I suspect most people in the country would think, given that there’s very little money around, that this probably wouldn’t be top of their list of priorities for the use of scarce public resources."