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

In fact I did not know that, but it makes logical sense. If that work is already under way, I am delighted. Perhaps the Minister can say more about it, because that is exactly the sort of initiative we need. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention.

The next stage, which brings me back to what my hon. Friend Jack Lopresti said, is the whole business of training and skills. For everything I have mentioned—standards, fund management, export credit, cyber and FinTech, and promotion of development causes—we will need more skills, and not just in this country but throughout the Commonwealth. Training courses and the handover of skills through higher education and vocational qualifications are critical to the way the Commonwealth moves forward. The UK has a huge amount to offer in that context through organisations such as TVET, but specific sectoral skills also need to be passed on, and there is arguably no sector more important than the armed forces and the police. Widening our security links with Commonwealth countries and improving their security will be crucial to the success of those sovereign states and to ensuring that there is less volatility in governance than there has been in some of them in the past few years.