CANBERRA, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described the idea that British trade with Commonwealth nations can make up for leaving the European Union (EU) as "nutty".
In a column for The Guardian, Rudd, who served as prime minister between 2007 and 2010 and again for three months in 2013, dismissed claims from Brexit supporters that Britain could strike trade deals with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India to soften the blow.
"I'm struck, as the British parliament moves towards the endgame on Brexit, with the number of times Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India have been advanced by the Brexiteers in the public debate as magical alternatives to Britain's current trade and investment relationship with the European Union," he said.
"This is the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments that have emerged from the Land of Hope and Glory set now masquerading as the authentic standard-bearers of British patriotism. It's utter bollocks," he said.
He said that while Australia, New Zealand and Canada would continue to trade with Britain post-Brexit, their combined population of 65 million does not come within a bull's roar of Britain's adjacent market of 450 million Europeans.
"So as a former chair of the Commonwealth ministerial action group, it's my melancholy duty to report that the idea the old Commonwealth could possibly substitute for Britain's current economic arrangements with Brussels is an illusion," he said.