Future of the Commonwealth — [Philip Davies in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 21st March 2018.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 2:30 pm, 21st March 2018

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. If I did not know him better, I would assume that he must have cyber-attacked my speech, because he has brilliantly anticipated what I was about to say.

Development on its own—this is where my hon. Friend’s point comes in—however noble, is not enough of a cause to realise the full potential of the Commonwealth. One of the key things is to tackle civic society changes as part of an embracing of all talent and good business practice. That boosts economies, security and standards of living for all. On the business side, I do not think that a future Commonwealth-wide free trade agreement is practical—I am sorry to disappoint those who believe it is. We might be able to make a start with a small coalition of the willing, but I doubt it would expand across the full panoply of the Commonwealth in the way that many of us would like.