Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made a passionate speech in Parliament today opposing the expensive restoration of the Mary Rose, warning that it could be re-armed and used as an offensive weapon.
The Tudor vessel was raised in 1982 and sections of it recently re-constructed for display at a Portsmouth museum. However, the pacifist MP argued the preservation of the ship ‘could spiral into an arms race in which other nations will seek to raise other derelict warships and use them to threaten innocent people’, adding that the ship should be ‘ceremoniously lowered back into the sea with a special crane’. He did., however, concede he could envision a role for the ship with its cannons removed.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the preserved timbers had kept the peace for 30 years since it was raised from the Portsmouth sea bed, and that she ‘would not hesitate to fire its cannons against an aggressor’, adding: ‘There is no point having a wreckage from Henry VIII’s naval fleet unless you are prepared to declare yourself absolute monarch and use it on the French’.
Meanwhile, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called the preservations ‘an act of aggression’, and instructed his government to ramp up its own production of derelict Tudor vessels, though observers claim their programme so far has consisted of rowing boats with the words ‘Tudor warship’ painted on the side.