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VIDEO: ‘Britain is BACK’: Ex-Aussie PM says UK should start Brexit with Commonwealth trade deals

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THE BREXIT vote has shown that Britain is a “great country” that is ready to become a global leader, the former of Australia declared last night.

Tony Abbott hailed last summer’s historic referendum vote as a demonstration of British willingness to “have a go”.

And he urged Theresa May to explore rebuilding UK links with Commonwealth countries like his own to maximise the potential benefits from new trading links outside the EU.

Mr Abbott’s enthusiastic vote of confidence in Britain’s future after Brexit was made in the foreword to a pamphlet on global trading opportunities written by two Tory MPs.

James Cleverly and Tim Hewish made the case for the UK prioritising free trade agreements with key Commonwealth nations in the discussion paper published by the Tory backbench Free Enterprise Group.

“Brexit means that Britain is back,” Mr Abbott wrote in the foreword.

“The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the Mother of Parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader.

“This is an exciting time for Britain and an exhilarating one for the countless millions elsewhere who appreciate Britain’s unique contribution to western civilisation.”

Brexit means that Britain is back

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

The politician, who was ousted from office following a feud within the ruling Liberal Party in Australia in 2015, forecast that Britain would be better off being “no longer constrained by the statism and bureaucracy of Brussels”.

“It’s also good that the remaining members of the European Union will now have to rethink how much of their sovereignty they wish to surrender.

“Brexit was not a vote against free trade because the EU has acted as a protectionist bloc against trade with outsiders,” Mr Abbott wrote.

“Brexit gives Britain the chance to do its own trade deals where consumers benefit from global goods and services and workers benefit from being able to compete more fairly in the markets of the wider world.”

Mr Abbott predicted that many Australians would be delighted for their country to build a closer trading relationship with the UK.

“Free trade agreements with economically advanced Commonwealth countries are the obvious place for Britain to start.

“Of course, no two countries are more like-minded than Britain and Australia. We have a language, a set of values and a large slab of history in common.

Theresa MayGETTY

He hopes that Theresa May will explore rebuilding relations with the Commonwealth

“Britons don’t feel like strangers in Australia and vice versa.

“If Britain is determined to make the most of Brexit – and everything about Prime Minister May shows this steely determination – why not strive for a one page free trade agreement with Australia?” Mr Abbott wrote.

“The movement of goods between our two countries should be absolutely free of tariffs or quotas.

“And each country’s product and service standards should be recognised in the other.”

Sydney HarbourGETTY

Abbott says Australians would be delighted for their country to build closer relations with the UK

He added: “We need what the European Economic Community of the 70s promised but failed to deliver. Provided people are coming to work rather than to take advantage of social security or health services, Australians should also be free to live in the UK and vice versa.

“In a world where too many people are frightened of the future, Brexit has shown that a great country and a great people are prepared to ‘have a go’, as we Australians say.

“Britons can be sure that today’s Australians will rally to our friends with the enthusiasm for which our forebears were rightly famous.”

Mr Cleverly, who co-authored the report for the Free Enterprise Group with Tim Hewish, said: “The Government must publish a plan to utilise the ‘Commonwealth Advantage’ and build our trade links with the Commonwealth.

“A market of 2.3 billion people and some of the fastest-growing economies in the world is too big an opportunity to ignore.”