NIGEL Farage told listeners there is an “incredible interest” from American officials in joining the Commonwealth as an associate member, after he spoke to leading officials in the White House.
Nigel Farage revealed this morning on his LBC phone-in show that top White House officials have expressed interest in joining the Commonwealth as an associate member.
The shock news comes amid a sudden surge in ties between the Commonwealth and the US administration under President Donald Trump.
Governors from the US visited the Commonwealth during the Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week, while the Royal Commonwealth Society opened up an office in the US earlier this year.
He said: “Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi, who I spoke to earlier this week, he was here for CHOGM, as was the Governor of Oklahoma.
“There was quite a big American delegation present in town. There is now a Royal Commonwealth Society Office open in America.
“I was there as a guest for its opening. Wilbur Ross turned up, he’s in charge of trade. Betsy DeVos, she’s in charge of education.
“Two key cabinet ministers showed up for a Royal Commonwealth Society event.
“I don’t necessarily see America becoming a member of the Commonwealth – that would start accusations of returning to the days of George III.
“But I can see America becoming an associate of it. Trump feels instictively that there is something rather special about the English-speaking peoples of the world.
“I think it has got great potential, especially in a post-Brexit world.”
He bashed Britain’s past leaders for ignoring the Commonwealth’s trade potential, which he said represented a bigger opportunity than the EU.
Michael Lake, the director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, said: “The UK rather left this treasure in the attic, and forgot about it because people were so glued to Brussels.”
The Commonwealth is one of the world’s oldest political associations, comprised of 53 states across six different continents.
At the opening of CHOGM this week, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said “We made a terrific mistake. We turned ours backs, and trade with Commonwealth countries went off a cliff.
“Literally, Australian farmers shot themselves as a result of the loss of markets in the UK. It was a very tough time.
“Every delegation I have met they are all interested in the possibilities of free trade.
“I think we’re going to have a lot of fun and it will be, I hope, a really exciting period for the Commonwealth. It’s a weirdly harmonious family. It’s very positive.”
Currently, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan and Suriname are all prospective members.
Other countries which have considered joining or becoming associate members at one point include Israel and Egypt.
By OLI SMITH