Johnson defends Tony Abbott over the role plan for the Brexit trade


Tony Abbott and Christine ForsterPicture copyright
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Tony Abbott on the launch of sister Christine Forster’s ebook in June

Boris Johnson has defended plans to present Tony Abbott a place with the UK authorities.

It comes after calls to dam the previous Australian PM from an advisory function in post-Brexit commerce talks.

Critics have attacked Mr Abbott’s previous feedback, accusing him of homophobia, sexism and local weather change denial.

Mr Johnson mentioned he did “not agree with these sentiments” however that he “cannot be anticipated” to agree with everybody who works with the federal government.

The UK prime minister mentioned Mr Abbott had been elected by the “nice, liberal democratic nation of Australia,” including: “I feel that speaks for itself.”

An announcement on appointments to the commerce board could be made “sooner or later,” he added. There are stories in Australia that Mr Abbott’s function might be confirmed afterward Friday.

Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer mentioned he had “actual considerations” and “would not appoint” Mr Abbott if he had been prime minister.

Mr Abbott, who was prime minister of Australia from 2013 to 2015, says he has had talks with UK ministers a couple of function however it has but to be formally confirmed.

‘Nice conviction’

A bunch of equality activists – together with actor Sir Ian McKellen and Physician Who author Russell T Davies – have written an open letter in opposition to Mr Abbott’s appointment.

The letter says: “It is a man who described abortion as ‘the straightforward manner out’ and urged that males could also be ‘by physiology or temperament extra tailored to train authority or to difficulty command’.”

It mentioned Mr Abbott “vigorously campaigned” in opposition to Australia’s profitable marriage equality referendum.

“For all these causes and extra moreover, this man just isn’t match to be representing the UK as our commerce envoy,” the letter added.

However Mr Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, has defended him in opposition to claims of misogyny and homophobia.

“As a lady who has at all times been a part of his life and who got here out to him as homosexual in my early 40s, I do know incontrovertibly that Tony is neither of these issues,” she wrote on Twitter.

“In actuality he’s a person of nice conviction and mind; an unabashed conservative however with nice compassion, respect for others, and an indelible sense of doing what is true.”

She added that he could be an “excellent commerce envoy for the UK” based mostly on his report of delivering commerce offers with Japan, China and South Korea.

Mr Abbott’s place could be as a member of the UK board of commerce, a panel of specialists that’s being put collectively to advise Worldwide Commerce Secretary Liz Truss.

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Liz Truss is in command of negotiating commerce offers with different international locations

On Thursday, Well being Secretary Matt Hancock was requested on Sky Information about considerations surrounding Mr Abbott’s perspective in the direction of girls and homosexuality.

Mr Hancock mentioned he didn’t imagine Mr Abbott is homophobic or misogynistic, and when pushed, he added: “He’s additionally an knowledgeable on commerce.”


The Labour Occasion has additionally written to the federal government urging it to not appoint Mr Abbott, saying to take action could be “fully unacceptable”, and to “look as a substitute for an knowledgeable with views on girls and equalities that higher replicate our British values.”

Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Wes Streeting accused Mr Hancock of hypocrisy after the well being secretary tweeted in regards to the “unbelievable” new LGBT-inclusive relationships and intercourse schooling programme launched in colleges.

Mr Bryant mentioned: “So why on earth would you countenance Tony Abbott as a commerce envoy?” whereas Mr Streeting tweeted: “Matt, we all know you are a social liberal with an honest voting report on LGBT equality. That is why your defence of Tony Abbott was much more nauseating.”

Within the Commons on Thursday, Worldwide Commerce Secretary Liz Truss was requested in regards to the attainable appointment.

Following criticism from Labour MP Ruth Cadbury, Ms Truss mentioned: “I feel it is absolute hypocrisy to listen to one of these argument from the Labour Occasion.

“It is a social gathering that has by no means elected a feminine chief regardless of having the chance time and time once more.

“The fact is that they’d fairly advantage sign and bask in tokenism fairly than take actual motion to enhance the lives of ladies.”