- Commonwealth Summit to be held in London and Windsor in April 2018
- venues will include Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle
- Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary to lead new ministerial group on the summit
- Prime Minister will meet Prime Minister of Malta and attend Westminster Abbey service today
The 2018 Commonwealth Summit will set out the future for a vibrant and diverse Commonwealth, the Prime Minister said today, as the UK joins nations around the world to mark Commonwealth Day.
Leaders from more than 50 countries are expected to attend next year’s summit, which will take place during the week of 16 April 2018 in London and Windsor. For the first time, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle will be among the summit venues.
Today, the Prime Minister will meet Prime Minister Muscat of Malta, the current Commonwealth Chair, to discuss our shared commitment to the Commonwealth and preparations for next year’s summit. She will also join the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which will be attended by Her Majesty the Queen.
Speaking on Commonwealth Day, the Prime Minister said:
As we prepare to host the Commonwealth Summit in London next April, we are reminded today of the unique and proud global relationships that we have forged with the diverse and vibrant alliance of Commonwealth nations.
The UK has a longstanding and firm commitment to the Commonwealth and to the values it upholds, of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
And in hosting the Commonwealth Summit next year, the UK is committed to working with all members not only to reaffirm these shared values, but also to re-energise and revitalise the Commonwealth to cement its relevance to this and future generations.
As we look to create a truly global Britain, the deep partnerships that we share through a 21st century Commonwealth can help us strengthen the prosperity and security of our own citizens, and those of our many friends and allies across the world.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet will oversee preparations to ensure the Commonwealth Summit is a truly cross-government effort, including through a new dedicated Inter-Ministerial Group co-chaired by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
A central team has also been established in the Cabinet Office to deliver the summit, working closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat and member states.
The dedicated unit will report directly to the Prime Minister, who has appointed Tim Hitchens as its CEO. Tim Hitchens was previously British Ambassador to Japan, and has served as Africa Director and Europe Director in the Foreign Office, and also as Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen.
The Commonwealth is made up of 52 members spanning 6 continents with a combined population of around 2.4 billion people, almost half of whom are under 25. The network includes established economies such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, as well as emerging markets like India, Malaysia, and South Africa, with trade between Commonwealth countries projected to be worth $1 trillion by 2020.
The summit in April 2018 will see the UK take over as chair of the Commonwealth until 2020.