Following the UK's decision to leave the EU, one of the most important things on the agenda is the renegotiation of our trade relationships with the rest of the world. There is mounting evidence that current trade rules are a significant barrier to achieving climate change goals. Brexit provides the UK with an opportunity to change this.
Reports coming out of Brussels and Washington suggest that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, otherwise known as TTIP, has been crippled, possibly killed, by Brexit. Informed sources suggest that TTIP will be parked until Britain's Article 50 negotiations have been completed and that there is now a possibility that the deal will never be concluded.
When I recently told a colleague that I want the UK to leave the EU, she expressed considerable dismay that someone of my background - mixed-race, working class, comprehensive education - was lining up with far-right racists. Such a misguided view of the people who support Brexit does a disservice to the millions of Britons up and down the UK, who are now in a majority that understands why it is morally, politically and economically essential for Britain to leave the EU.
Some have suggested that Brexit is a patriotic cause. And to argue for the UK to remain in the EU is somehow unpatriotic. I reject that entirely. I, as Britain's Minister for the Commonwealth, believe that the patriotic thing to do is what is in our country's long term interests. And I believe these interests are best served by re-committing to the Commonwealth and to a reformed EU.
There is much at stake in Europe just now. The external environment is characterised by economic slowdown, the pressure of conflict, the refugee crisis, and the need to move rapidly to act on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to climate. Urgent action is also needed to tackle the tax and transparency issues revealed by the Panama Papers. The threat of global disease epidemics is ever-present, with Ebola having been supplanted by the zika virus as the most urgent current threat. In all these arenas, the priority is coordinated action among groups of nations: another reason to put the global role of the EU high on the agenda.
As if that's not enough, the argument that the EU needs us because we have a deficit assumes the only good thing about trade is exports. But imports are beneficial too. If EU exports to the UK were artificially restricted, our consumers would be harmed. They would have to pay more when they shop and would have less choice. It's particularly odd to find Tory free-marketeers, who are supposed to understand the flaws of mercantilism, ignoring this point.
The red carpet has been rolled away, the royal carriage has been put back in the garage, and the British press have moved on. Now that Xi Jinping's state visit - the first by a Chinese Premier for 10 years is over, it's a good time to take stock and ask how the Sino-UK relationship should now develop.
In their very haste to catch up and the urgency they attach to attracting investment, Cameron and Osborne are prepared to ignore criticism - and I suspect the advice of their diplomats - and downplay human rights and wider foreign policy considerations to put their emphasis on the purely pecuniary dimension of relations with the Chinese.
If the EU is to be serious about its opposition to torture and the ill-treatment of human beings it must put its full might behind effective, comprehensive and adaptable controls on the instruments of torture. We believe that the legislation currently under debate in the Parliament can do this: we just need the political will to see it through.