The Leave campaigns have had a central plank of their argument blown out the water, as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth has said that Britain should remain a member both of the EU and the Commonwealth.
Those campaigning for Britain to leave Europe have repeatedly claimed that being in the EU holds Britain back in the Commonwealth and that Britain must choose between the two.
But Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, speaking on the World At One on BBC Radio 4 today, said: “But I think it’s not a question of either/or, it’s and. We have both at the moment and I haven’t heard any suggestion in the Commonwealth that they would like to lose that advantage of having both but, you know, the question is having to be answered by the people of the United Kingdom, they’re the ones who are going to have to make the decision and they have the sovereign right to do so.”
She went on to say, “I think there are real advantages for having both [EU and Commonwealth membership].
Commenting, James McGrory, Stronger In Chief Campaign Spokesman, said: “Yet again, the clueless Leave campaigns have had the rug pulled out from under them by the very people whose views they claim to represent.
“The Commonwealth is a great institution and Britain plays a crucial role as its central fulcrum. But the suggestion that we have to choose between that and our leading role in Europe is quite plainly a total fallacy, as the woman at the head of the Commonwealth herself agrees.
“Britain has a louder voice in the world thanks to the EU – including as part of the Commonwealth. More than 3 million people born in the Commonwealth live in the UK and being in the EU allows us to maintain closer links with those countries. That’s why the Prime Minister of India has said that the UK is India’s “gateway” to the EU.
“The small amount of credibility those campaigning for us to leave Europe have left is ebbing away by the day. It’s time they hold their hands up and admit that they just don’t know the facts. Britain is stronger in Europe – and independent experts overwhelmingly agree”.