PARTY leaders in Scotland have slammed plans for a new royal yacht named after Prince Philip.  

The vessel will reportedly be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson within weeks and could cost as much as £200 million.

But First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said it was a "ludicrous idea". 

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Speaking during the final BBC leader's debate before the Holyrood election, she said: "Let's just be blunt about this. 

"The only reason Boris Johnson has been talking about this is to try to distract attention from the sleaze that is swirling around him and his Government - everybody should see through it, and frankly it's one more reason why Boris Johnson should not be the guy making the decisions about the future of Scotland."

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie labelled the plans an "absurdity".

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "I could think of probably 500 other things I would rather spend that money on than a royal yacht."

He added: "To be honest, I don't know why we're debating this. The royal yacht is a ludicrous idea.

"It will never happen. It's one of Boris Johnson's tricks to try and attract attention.

"We should be focusing on things that make a difference to people's lives in Scotland."

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he understood private investment would be used to build the vessel.

Asked if public money should be used on the project, Mr Ross said: "Absolutely not".

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar described the move as a "stunt".