Tony Abbott: Concerns raised over former Australian PM prioritising UK interests

Concerns of potential conflicts of interest have been raised following the appointment of former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to a role at the UK Board of Trade.

Mr Abbott's appointment as an adviser was overshadowed by fierce reaction from some quarters, including accusations of the politician holding misogynistic and homophobic views and an outdated view on climate change.

But in Australia, where he served in Parliament for 25 years, the focus has been switched to how the London-born but Australia-bred politician will balance the interests of the two countries.

The country's shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said Mr Abbott's knowledge of the ruling Liberal party and Australian government dealings could present an issue in trade discussions.

He was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald saying: "It's up to the government to explain ... how conflicts arising from Mr Abbott's intimate knowledge of Australia's trading interests and strategies, gained during his years as a minister and prime minister, will be managed."

Meanwhile, Rex Patrick, an independent senator, replied to a statement from Mr Abbott writing: "@HonTonyAbbott announces he will facilitate UK's negotiation of a trade deal with Australia.

"He will be representing the UK's interests, not Australia's. He makes no mention of his clear obligation to register here as a foreign agent. #disgraceful #auspol"

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott (L) during their meeting at Government House in Canberra as part of her 10-day Australian tour on October 21, 2011. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also met with Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as the ex-colony's former leader Paul Keating revealed how he once told the monarch the nation no longer needed her. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LYNDON MECHIELSEN (Photo credit should read Lyndon MECHIELSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) The 1980 Rhodes Awardee, Tony Abbott, 21 November 1980. SMH Picture by PAUL W. MURRAY (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
19 March 2004 - Karla Grant, Celeste Ferraris, Susie Elelman and Tony Abbott perform at A Night With The Stars - a Millennium Foundation Charity dinner held at The Westin Hotel in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Tony Abbott makes a joke about Bob Baldwin in Lycra cycling clothes as he talks to the gathering of people at Bob Baldwin's office in Raymond Terrace after the Pollie Pedal cyclists arrived, 6 April 2005. NCH NEWS Picture by PETER STOOP (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Health Minister Tony Abbott during Question Time in the House of Representatives on 17 March 2005. SMH NEWS Picture by CHRIS LANE (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Health Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Health spokeswoman Julia Gillard at the National Press Club Debates on 16 September 2004 SMH NEWS Picture by ANDREW TAYLOR (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Federal Labor Foreign Affairs spokesperson Kevin Rudd, left, after he launched the new book 'Acting on Conscience' by social activist Frank Brennan, right, speaking with Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, at Parliament House, Canberra, 31 October 2006. SMH Picture by ANDREW TAYLOR (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Federal Minister for Health, Tony Abbott does work experience at Harrison's Pharmacy in Manly Corso, 23 August 2006. SMH Picture by PETER RAE (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Tony Abbott, Federal Health Minister at the relaunch of Relenza production at Glaxo Smith Kline, 30 January 2006. AFR Picture by JESSICA SHAPIRO (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Daniel and Rebecca Harford with their 1 year-old daughter, Abbey, who was screened for Haemochromatosis in a project by the Murdoch Childrens Institute, one of the many medical research successes recognised by the Health minister, Tony Abbott, during the launch of 10 of the Best at the Baker Institute today on 2nd August, 2005. THE AGE NEWS Picture by JOHN WOUDSTRA. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott shake hands after their debate at the National Press Club on March 23, 2010 in Canberra, Australia. Health reform was the focus of today's debate, the first debate between the two leaders ahead of the federal election later this year. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Federal Liberal MPs Bronwyn Bishop and Tony Abbott sing and dance during a rehearsal of 'We're Couple of Swells' from the musical Easter Parade, to be performed at a charity fundraising event for the Millennium Foundation, with proceeds to go towards medical research at Westmead Hospital, 16 March 2007. SMH Picture by ANDREW MEARES (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Sydney, AUSTRALIA: US Vice President Dick Cheney attends a breakfast meeting with Australain Health Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Shadow Foreign Minister Robert McClelland (R) during the Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Sydney, 23 February 2007. The vice president, who will take pains to thank Australia for its help in Iraq and Afghanistan, meets Australian Prime Minister John Howard -- who he describes as "an old friend" -- on 24 February. AFP PHOTO / POOL (Photo credit should read IAN WALDIE/AFP via Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard shakes hands with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott ahead of the first leaders debate at the National Press Club on July 25, 2010 in Canberra, Australia. Gillard and Abbott will go head-to-head in what is expected to be the only debate prior to the August 21 federal election. The debate was brought forward from its traditional time of 7:30pm to avoid a clash with the popular cooking show MasterChef. (Photo by Alan Porritt-Pool/Getty Images)
LISAROW, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 15: Bridget Abbott (L) and Louise Abbott (R), daughters of Opposition leader Tony Abbott Opposition leader Tony Abbott (C) look on during the final week of campaigning ahead of next weekend's Federal Election, at Pluim Park on August 15, 2010 in Lisarow, Australia. Australian voters will head to the polls on August 21 to elect the 43rd head of Parliament. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA OUT) Opposition Leader Tony Abbott poses with a fishing rod during a visit to Narooma wharf on the South Coast of New South Wales. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16: Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott gets his make-up done prior to appearing on the ABC's Q & A television program at the Casula Powerhouse on August 16, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Voters in Australia will head to the polls on August 21 in what is believed to be a tight contest. (Photo by Dean Lewins-Pool/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Opposition leader Tony Abbott uses a TV Camera as a weight while aboard the Official Liberal Party Media Bus during the final week of campaigning ahead of this weekend's Federal Election on August 19, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. Australian voters will head to the polls on August 21 to elect their 43rd Parliament. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Opposition leader Tony Abbott plays Rugby League while meeting Manly Sea Eagles players during the final week of campaigning ahead of this weekend's Federal Election at Brookvale Oval on August 20, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Australian voters will head to the polls on August 21 to elect their 43rd Parliament. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Opposition leader Tony Abbott walks past a climate change protester after speaking with mothers at a child minding house during the final week of campaigning ahead of this weekend's Federal Election on August 19, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. Australian voters will head to the polls on August 21 to elect their 43rd Parliament. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott (C) serves breakfast at a sausage sizzle outside a national election polling station at a surf club in Sydney on August 21, 2010. Australians voted in the closest national election in decades with the country's first woman prime minister Julia Gillard neck-and-neck with conservative challenger Abbott. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP via Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Prime Minister Julia Gillard (c), Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Opposition leader Tony Abbott look on at the funeral service for Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney at the Ashgrove Baptist Church on September 10, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. The 28-year old soldier was killed in battle in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province in late August. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Opposition leader Tony Abbott completes the Body Science Great Australian Swim Series at the Sydney Harbour on January 26, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. The inaugural ocean swim event brings people of all ages together to compete in distances between 300 metres and 2.5 kilometres against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour. (Photo by Craig Golding/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) meets with Australian Oppostion Leader Tony Abbott at the Conservative Party Conference on October 5, 2010 in Birmingham, England. On the third day of the conference speakers are set to debate public services, crime and justice and poverty. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott speaks at the St. Vincents Institute of Medical Research charity luncheon in Melbourne on July 21, 2011 as he continues his tour of the country campaigning against the federal government's carbon tax package. Abbott has said the carbon tax could kill Julia Gillard's prime ministership. Support for the Gillard government has slumped to 26 percent in the latest Nielsen poll, a record low. AFP PHOTO / William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Opposition leader Tony Abbott (no.21) makes his way to the start during the Body Science Great Australian Swim Series at the Sydney Harbour on January 26, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. The inaugural ocean swim event brings people of all ages together to compete in distances between 300 metres and 2.5 kilometres against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour. (Photo by Craig Golding/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott poses with his daughters Bridget and Frances looks on as horses are paraded in the mounting yard prior to the AAMI Golden Slipper race during 2012 Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens on April 7, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05: JBS CEO Brent Eastwood talks to Opposition leader Tony Abbott and LNP candidate Teresa Harding during a tour of JBS meat processing plant on August 5, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. Liberal party leader, Tony Abbott is today campaigning on economic issues n marginal seats in Brisbane on the first day of campaigning since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday called a federal election for September 7. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott shake hands at the commencement of the Leaders Debate at the National Press Club on August 11, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. This is the first debate the Labor and Liberal parties have agreed on, with Rudd seeking as many debates as possible and Abbott arguing for three debates in total, including two town hall-style events. Australians will head to the polls on September 7. (Photo by Alan Porritt-Pool/Getty Images)
ADELAIDE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott meets with a family to discuss policies on September 3, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia. In the 2010 election the Australian Labor Party recorded its highest two-party-preferred vote since 1969 in South Australia, but if nationwide polling proves accurate the Liberal-National Party coalition believe they can gain seats in the state. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Australian Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott watches as his daughters Bridget, Frances and Louise and his wife Margie vote in the federal election on September 7, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Polls predict a comfortable victory for the Abbott led conservative Liberal-National Party coalition against the incumbent Australian Labor Party. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Australia's conservative Coalition leader Tony Abbott (L) speaks to the media as a protester holds up a placard (C) as polls open in the country's general election, in Sydney on September 7, 2013. Polls shows Abbott is heading for a landslide victory against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's ruling Labor Party. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister-elect, Tony Abbott (C), his wife Margie (2nd-L) and daughters Frances (L), Louise (2nd-R) and Bridget celebrate his victory in the 2013 Australian Election in Sydney on September 7, 2013. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded defeat to Abbott in Australian elections and said he will step down as Labor leader as voters punished the party for internal warfare. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Newly elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott flanked by his family from left, daughter Frances, wife Margie, daughters Louise and Bridget on September 7, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Liberal-National Coalition leader Tony Abbott was elected Prime Minister in a landslide victory over Labor leader Kevin Rudd, bringing the conservative party to power for the first time in six years. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) reviews Indonesian honour guards during a visit to the presidential palace in Jakarta on September 30, 2013. Abbott began a visit to Indonesia on September 30 for talks on his tough refugee policies that have sparked anger in Jakarta, as his government faced criticism over a boat sinking that left dozens dead or missing. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters carry placards at a 'Welcome Refugees' rally in Sydney on September 29, 2013, which comes after a report that a vessel carrying an estimated 120 asylum-seekers from Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen, sank in rough seas of of Indonesia, claiming 22 lives -- including multiple children -- with dozens more passengers unaccounted for. It is the first fatal sinking since conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott's election win and comes ahead of his arrival in Jakarta on September 30, 2013, on his first foreign trip as leader where Australia's controversial new people-smuggling policies -- including plans to turn back boats to Indonesia -- are likely to dominate talks. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R) participate in the the 2013 International Fleet Review in Sydney on October 5, 2013. The International Fleet Review commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy's fleet arriving into Sydney. Prince Harry is an official guest of the Australian Government and will take part in the fleet review during his two-day visit to Australia. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ryan Pierse (Photo credit should read RYAN PIERSE/AFP via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and HRH Prince Harry are seen on board the Leeuwin on October 5, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Over 50 ships participate in the International Fleet Review at Sydney Harbour to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy's fleet arriving into Sydney. Prince Harry is an official guest of the Australian Government and will take part in the fleet review during his two-day visit to Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe line up as they take part in the traditional "leaders' family photo" on the final day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 6: Prince Harry and Prime Minister Tony Abbott are greeted by Premier Colin Barnett and his wife Lyn Barnett upon arrival on October 6, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Prince Harry is on his second day of a two-day trip to Australia during which he participated in the International Fleet Review in Sydney as an official guest of the Australian Government. (Photo by Steve Ferrier - Pool/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) meets with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Canberra on November 28, 2013. Suu Kyi on November 28 insisted she was no saint and no icon, saying she disliked the titles and had always seen herself as an honest politician. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ALAN PORRITT (Photo credit should read ALAN PORRITT/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of Pemuda Pancasila burn pictures of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a protest against claims that Australian spies targeted the phone of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on November 26, 2013. About 100 protesters from Pemuda Pancasila, a nationalist group in military-style uniforms demonstrated outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, burning pictures of Tony Abbott, demanding Australia's goverment to apologise publicly. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP via Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds his fighting boomerang while talking to an Aboriginal performer at the opening of the 44th Parliament in Canberra on November 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MARK GRAHAM (Photo credit should read MARK GRAHAM/AFP via Getty Images)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (C) is flanked by Australia Test cricket captain Michael Clarke (R) and Brad Haddin (L) as they pose for a group photograph at a New Year's Day reception at Kirribilli House in Sydney on January 1, 2014. The arch arrivals Australia and England will face each other in the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney starting from January 3. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R, on red carpet) is accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) as they review a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the state guest house in Tokyo on April 7, 2014. Abbott is on a four-day visit to Japan. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Tony Abbott are seen on Manly Beach on April 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge makes her way onto Manly Beach alongside Tony Abbott on April 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: (L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets the Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott MP at Admiralty House on April 17, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by William West - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) look-on as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrive at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport on a Royal Australian Air Force aircraft during the tenth day of their official tour to New Zealand and Australia. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott looks on as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds Prince George of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge bids farewell as they leave Fairbairne Airbase to head back to the UK after finishing their Royal Visit to Australia on April 25, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia attend the Australian Parliament on April 24, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, accompanied by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by Margie Abbott arrive for a reception hosted by the Prime Minister of Australia at Parliament House on April 24, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Alex Ellinghausen - Pool/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives at a surf lifesaving demonstration with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a surf lifesaving event on Manly Beach on April 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Jason Reed - Pool/Getty Images) )
Lynne Cosgrove (L), wife of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove (unseen), and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (2nd L) sees off Britain's Prince William (R), his wife Catherine (2nd R), the Duchess of Cambridge, and their son Prince George at the Defence Establishment Fairbairn in Canberra on April 25, 2014. Britain's Prince William, his wife Kate and their son Prince George were on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
BAYEUX, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and British Prime Minister David Cameron walk down the street after leaving Bayeux Cathedral with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Bayeux Cathedral after a Service of Remembrance during D-Day 70 Commemorations on June 6, 2014 in Ranville, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (3rd L), Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (C), British Prime Minister David Cameron (3rd R) and French Prime minister Manuel Valls (2nd R) walk in Bayeux, Normandy, after attend a British D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Cathedral of Bayeux, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS BREGARDIS (Photo credit should read THOMAS BREGARDIS/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia meet with reporters following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office the White House on June 12, 2014 in Washington, D.C. This was the first formal meeting between the two leaders. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama smiles with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on June 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) as Indian Secretary for the Department of Atomic Energy R.K. Sinha (R) looks on following an exchange of documents for the Agreement of Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy in New Delhi on September 5, 2014. Conservative leaders Tony Abbott and Narendra Modi sealed a long-awaited nuclear energy deal, paving the way for Australia to sell uranium to India crippled by power shortages and blackouts. AFP PHOTO/Prakash SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
YIRRKALA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Prime Minister Tony Abbott is welcomed by dancers from the Rirratjingu tribe during a traditional Welcome to Country ceremony on September 14, 2014 in Yirrkala in Northern Territory at the start of his week-long stay in Arnhem Land. (Photo by Jack Tran/Newspix/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 20: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets for bilateral meeting during their visit for Indonesian President Inauguration Joko Widodo on October 20, 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Kerry is touring Southeast Asian nations to seek support against the (ISIS) Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. (Photo by Oscar Siagian/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott take part in a bilateral meeting at the US embassy in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14: British Prime Minister David Cameron and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speak during a press conference at Parliament House on November 14, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. British Prime Minister David Cameron is attending meetings and events in Sydney and Canberra before travelling to the G20 Summit in Brisbane later today. (Photo by Alan Porritt - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (3rd L) gestures with Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), as Russian President Vladimir Putin, (front R) looks on at the end of a group photo of leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies at Yanqi Lake, north of Beijing on November 11, 2014. Other leaders present are, L-R, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: In this handout photo provided by the G20 Australia, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Reading Room at Parliament House during the G20 Leaders' Summit on November 15, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. World leaders have gathered in Brisbane for the annual G20 Summit and are expected to discuss economic growth, free trade and climate change as well as pressing issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis. (Photo by Steve Christo/G20 Australia via Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the official welcome at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibitions Centre on November 15, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. World leaders have gathered in Brisbane for the annual G20 Summit and are expected to discuss economic growth, free trade and climate change as well as pressing issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott chat prior to the start of a welcome ceremony performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people during the G20 Summit in Brisbane on November 15, 2014. Brisbane is hosting the leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies for the G20 summit. AFP PHOTO / POOL (Photo credit should read MARK BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Chinese President Xi Jinping during the official welcome at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibitions Centre on November 15, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. World leaders have gathered in Brisbane for the annual G20 Summit and are expected to discuss economic growth, free trade and climate change as well as pressing issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Sarah Murdoch, Adam Bull, Amber Scott and French President Francios Hollande pose for a photograph after a performance by the Australian Ballet Company at a lunch at the National Gallery of Australia on November 19, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. French President Francois Hollande is attending meetings in Sydney and Canberra following the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane. (Photo by Cole Bennetts - Pool/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott chats with English captain Eoin Morgan and the PMs XI captain Chris Rogers before the tour match between the Prime Ministers XI and England at Manuka Oval on January 14, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott watches the Powhiri at a welcome ceremony at Government House on February 27, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. Prime Minister Abbott is on his first official two day visit to New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)
(From L-R) New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott attend a memorial service on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the land campaign of the Battle of Gallipoli in Canakkale on April 25, 2015. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders thronged the beaches of Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to remember the heroism and sacrifice of their forefathers in the World War I campaign against the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago. Troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) launched their first amphibious assaults on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now western Turkey on April 25, 1915, splashing through the waters into a rain of Ottoman gunfire. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)
CANAKKALE, TURKEY - APRIL 25: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Prince Harry attend a memorial service at the 57th Infantry Regiment Memorial on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Canakkale Land Battles on Gallipoli Peninsula in Canakkale, Turkey on April 25, 2015. (Photo by Aykut Unlupinar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
(From L-R) Bronagh Key, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott attend a memorial service on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the land campaign of the Battle of Gallipoli in Canakkale on April 25, 2015. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders thronged the beaches of Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to remember the heroism and sacrifice of their forefathers in the World War I campaign against the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago. Troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) launched their first amphibious assaults on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now western Turkey on April 25, 1915, splashing through the waters into a rain of Ottoman gunfire. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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After Prime Minister Boris Johnson came out in support of the 62-year-old, Mr Abbott – who led Australia from 2013-15 – said he was "only too keen" to help the UK and looked forward to helping facilitate trade deals "between Britain and other countries, including Australia".

"A UK-Australia trade deal, maximising the movement of goods, services and people is clearly in the best interests of both our countries," Mr Abbott said in a statement on Twitter.

"It's important for the wider world that Britain make the most of its post-Brexit opportunities and I am proud to be playing a part."

"My government finalised trade deals between Australia and China, Japan and Korea. I'm looking forward to bringing that expertise to bear as Britain works towards mutually beneficial improvements with its major trading partners."

Labour shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry said Mr Abbott was "not the right person to advise the UK on trade policy" due to his "history of offensive comments" and lack of experience.

But Alexander Downer, a former Australian high commissioner to the UK, said the arguments against his ally Mr Abbott did not "stack up".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "He is not a misogynist, he has appointed many women to positions – he was appointed to this position by a woman.

"I don't think it stacks up, I think it's just party politicking."

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

In its announcement, the department stressed advisers to the board would have "no direct role in striking trade deals".

The UK is currently looking to agree its own trade agreements for the first time in more than 40 years after leaving the European Union in January.

It is conducting negotiations with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

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