A COLCHESTER man says he was shocked to get an “insulting” letter from Sir Bob Russell after he wrote to his MP about the call for a new Royal yacht to be built.

Dominic Bell e-mailed the Lib Dem asking why he had supported a Parliamentary motion calling on the Government to commission a £60million replacement for the Royal yacht, Britannia, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Mr Bell’s e-mail made it clear he understood the MPs had insisted public money would not be spent on a new yacht.

However the civil servant raised concerns about what would happen if sufficient sponsorship and donations could not be raised and also about the running costs of a new yacht.

The MP’s reply asked Mr Bell: “Are you serious? Don’t you have more important things in your life to be worried about without bothering me with this?

“I have pride in our nation’s history and its maritime heritage. A new Royal yacht would be in Britain’s national and international interests.

“Are you not capable of understanding this?”

Mr Bell, 39, of Castle Road, Colchester, said he was insulted by his MP’s reply.

He said: “This is me engaging in the democratic process, by holding an elected member to account. He’s a public servant as well, but it seems as if he thinks he’s unaccountable.”

Mr Bell, who says he belongs to no political party, described the MP’s reply as rude and dismissive.

He said: “I’ve shown the letter to a few people and they have been flabbergasted.”

However, Sir Bob was unrepentant. He said: “If people write seeking my views, I give my views. If he wants to think it’s insulting, that’s his point of view.”

The proposed yacht has been the subject of headlines after a letter written by Education Secretary Michael Gove, suggesting the estimated £60million cost could come from the public purse was leaked.

This is the second time a constituent has complained about a bluntly-worded letter.

In December 2010, the MP told Garry Burbage, of Canterbury Road, Colchester, to get a life and stop whingeing after he asked if taxpayers’ money would be spent on Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

Sir Bob later claimed the letter had been a “Labour Party stitch-up”