Ex-Australian PM Tony Abbott appointed to UK’s Board of Trade

Controversial figure Tony Abbott has been appointed to the Board of Trade, despite critics arguing the former Australian prime minister was not suitable to be a government trade adviser.

Critics raised numerous concerns over allegations against the 62-year-old, including his climate change scepticism and belief that coronavirus restrictions should be lifted.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended him, heralding his status as a former leader of “freedom-loving” and “liberal” Australia.

The Department for International Trade has now formally announced that Mr Abbott will form part of the new-look Board of Trade, in what is said to be an unpaid role.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “The new Board of Trade will play an important role in helping Britain make the case for free and fair trade across the UK and around the world.

“At a time of increased protectionism and global insecurity, it’s vital that the UK is a strong voice for open markets and that we play a meaningful role in reshaping global trading rules alongside like-minded countries.

“The new board will help us do that, bringing together a diverse group of people who share Britain’s belief in free enterprise, democracy, and high standards and rules-based trade.”