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, although with that goes the challenge of ensuring that those people have opportunities, and the skills and qualifications to take up those opportunities. I add another caveat: if countries such as China are going to play a greater role in the development of infrastructure in the Commonwealth, particularly in Africa, I very much hope that the resultant job opportunities are not purely for large ships full of Chinese who come over to develop that infrastructure, but for the people who live in those countries.

There we are. I have touched on prosperity and security, partly because, alongside fairness and sustainability, they are two themes of CHOGM, but also because, in the absence of security and the ability to become more prosperous, the future of individuals, families and nations is always set back. This is an important time and these are important themes.

Let me quote:

“By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people’s lives, today, and for future generations.”

That was said by she who will shortly host the greatest number of Heads of State and Government seen in this country since the 2012 Olympics: our own Queen. I believe that this CHOGM is partly to recognise, and perhaps to celebrate, Her Majesty’s incredible service to the Commonwealth and to ensure that the baton is passed on. I very much hope that the Prince of Wales and his sons and their wives play an increasing role in serving the Commonwealth, as our Queen has for so long.

Ours is a nation with much to give the world. I hope that the Government, business, charities and other organisations rise to the occasion of our hosting this year’s CHOGM, welcome India’s enhanced engagement and Gambia’s rejoining the Commonwealth, and consider all the ways we can ensure that that incredibly important and precious organisation goes from strength to strength.