Politics

Boris Johnson: Brexit will boost our common wealth

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Members have 21 percent lower costs when trading with each other. And investment levels are 27 percent higher than between non-member nations. And he notes that the collective GDP (gross domestic product) of Commonwealth nations is forecast to increase by 50 percent to £15.9trillion in the next five years. This week Mr Johnson is travelling to Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Prince Charles and Camilla will also be there.

Previewing the summit, the PM linked the Commonwealth relationship with Britain’s departure from the EU, saying: “That is why we are mobilising the UK’s regained sovereignty to sign free trade or economic partnership agreements with as many Commonwealth countries as possible. So far we’ve done 33, including Australia and New Zealand, and we’re aiming for India, the biggest of them all, by Diwali in October.

“You only have to look at the sheer scale of economic expansion in many of the club’s biggest members to see why the Commonwealth trade advantage is going to become ever more important.

“Here are the growing markets for British exports that will create jobs at home and – at the same time – ease the pressure on the cost of living.” His comments come just days after Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt revealed the UK will soon enjoy a £1.65trillion trade partnership with Commonwealth countries.

Mr Johnson is also being urged to use CHOGM to push for the eradication of “Neglected Tropical Diseases”. More than 25 Tory MPs have signed a letter to him, calling for Britain to lead the way in ending the scourge of NTDs, which affect one billion people worldwide.

They want a “common sense approach” that will allow Britain to maintain its status as a flagbearer for international development without wasting taxpayers’ money.

It follows a £21million contribution from investment firm Legatum.

Spokesman Alan McCormick said: “Simple, treatable illnesses are still destroying people’s quality of life through malnutrition, disfigurement and blindness.

“These illnesses are called neglected because they’re often forgotten when governments get together at events like CHOGM.”

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