Wednesday 26 August 2020 12:06 pm

Ex-Australian PM Tony Abbott to be given top UK trade role

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to be unveiled as Boris Johnson’s choice to lead the UK’s post-Brexit trade mission.

Abbott has reportedly been appointed as joint president – along with trade secretary Liz Truss – to Britain’s Board of Trade and will be tasked with promoting the UK as a trade destination around the world.

The Sun reports that Johnson brought Abbott on board as a part of a drive to get global allies to attract support for post-Brexit Britain.

The government is simultaneously negotiating trade deals with the EU, US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as the UK prepares to leave the EU’s customs union and single market on 31 December.

Abbott, who was Australia’s prime minister between 2013 and 2015, has been a long-time supporter of Brexit and is one of Australia’s most prominent right-wingers.

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The job description for his new role is to “champion exports and inward and outward investment to deliver economic growth and prosperity”, according to The Sun.

The appointment comes after the UK created a set of trade groups yesterday, which will advise the government on trade negotiations.

Leaders from companies such as EY, Barclays and HSBC will be members of the Department of International Trade’s newly formed trade advisory groups.

Abbott, who is known as being gaffe prone, came to power after winning a landslide victory in the 2013 Australian election.

He was replaced as prime minister by his party in 2015 after consistently low polling saw Malcolm Turnbull challenge Abbott to a leadership contest.

Turnbull was then deposed in a similar fashion in 2018.

Abbott lost his seat in the 2019 Australian election, after residents in his Warringah constituency in Sydney revolted against his views on climate change.

Abbott does not believe in man-made global warming.

A video of him, when he was opposition leader, being accused of misogny by ex-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Australian parliament went viral in 2012.