UK government sparks controversy by appointing ex-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as special trade envoy

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The British left sees this as further proof of the Johnson government’s populist drift. Despite the controversy, the latter confirmed, on Friday (September 4th), the appointment of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the United Kingdom’s trade envoy.

Mr Abbott, 62, will become a member of a ‘British trade council’ made up of a dozen people who are supposed to use their influence to promote the ‘post-Brexit’ UK and facilitate the signing of treaties of free trade with the rest of the world.

Mr Abbott, former leader of the Australian Liberal Party, briefly led the mainland country between 2013 and 2015 and has become the target of climate and LGBT rights groups, who accuse him of being climate skeptic, misogynist and homophobic. In question, his opposition to marriage between people of the same sex and repeated comments, questioning the reality of global warming. In October 2017, for example, invited by a notoriously climate-skeptic British think tank (the Global Warming Policy Foundation), Mr. Abbott estimated that climate change “Is quite a good thing or at least creates more good than bad. “

Read also Tony Abbott, the “mad monk” at the head of Australia

Renegotiation of treaties with around 40 partners

Much mobilized in recent days, a collective of activists and artists including actor Sir Ian McKellen and TV producer Russell T Davies, have demanded that Boris Johnson “Reconsider his decision “.

“Here is a man who describes abortion as the easy way out and suggests that men may be better suited by character and physiology to exercise authority.” they denounce in a letter to Downing Street. Keir Starmer, the leader of the British Labor Party, for his part expressed his “Serious concerns” : if he was prime minister, he “Would not have named [M. Abbott] to this post ”.

Visiting the Birmingham area on Friday, Boris Johnson brushed aside criticism, assuring that even if he was not “Not agree with [M. Abbott] on certain subjects ”, this last “Was elected by the people of the great liberal nation of Australia”. Outraged voices were raised, however, including in their own conservative camp. This appointment is “Terrible”, Conservative elected Caroline Nokes, chair of the parliamentary committee on women and equality, told the BBC at the microphone.

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