Dr Julian Lewis: Given that the transition from colonial status to independence is often extremely difficult and sometimes downright dangerous, should we not pay tribute to all the parliamentarians and diplomats who had the vision to create the modern Commonwealth system, and should we not take some satisfaction from the fact that so many former colonies are happy to participate – with the United Kingdom – in that system, which has been so successful for so many decades?

[The Minister for Africa (Harriett Baldwin): I am happy to pay tribute to the work of the diplomatic network in focusing on the modern priorities of the Commonwealth. My right hon. Friend will have welcomed last year’s announcement that the UK is to open diplomatic representation in a further nine Commonwealth countries, thus creating a complete set of diplomatic representations in all the Commonwealth countries.]