UK Labour MP Emily Thornberry has condemned former Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s appointment as an advisor to the British Board of Trade, demanding details of the job be revealed.
It’s been reported this week that in the senior trade role, Abbott will help the UK secure post-Brexit trade deals. His appointment has not yet been officially confirmed by the UK government, and it is unclear if the role is paid.
Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, has labelled the appointment “staggering”, and that Abbott is a “gaffe-prone misogynist”.
“Any way you look at it, this is an absolutely staggering appointment,” she said in a statement.
“On a personal level, it is shameful that Boris Johnson thinks this offensive, aggressive, leering, gaffe-prone misogynist is the right person to represent our country overseas.
“And on a professional level, this is someone with no hands-on experience of negotiating trade agreements, who denies the climate change that we believe should be at the heart of our trade policy, and who clearly has no concept of the importance of Britain’s trade with the EU.
“He was ousted by his own colleagues after just two years in power, and rejected by his own constituents just last year. They are the people who know him best, and wanted rid of him, yet here we are now, hiring him to negotiate our trade deals around the world.”
“It’s yet more breathtaking incompetence from a government that has turned it into an art-form.”
Some people have asked me why I don’t think Tony Abbott is necessarily the best appointment for Boris Johnson to make as Britain’s so-called ‘trade supremo’. I’ve written for @theipaper explaining why he wouldn’t have had my vote on the interview panel: https://t.co/BbJ8GYGyw2— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) August 27, 2020
Elsewhere, it’s been reported that back in 2014, Abbott’s climate denialism frustrated then US President Barack Obama to the extent that he ad-libbed a speech about the dying great barrier reef at a G20 meeting in Brisbane.
At the time, Obama was trying to ensure a global climate agreement would be reached at the 2015 Paris climate talks.