A Conservative MP has branded former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a “misogynist” and said it would be “awful” for him to represent Britain on the world stage.
Mr Abbott has been tipped as a member of UK’s Board of Trade to advise ministers and help secure post-Brexit trade deals.
However, Caroline Nokes, the Tory chairwoman of the women and equalities select committee, told BBC Politics Live that “I just don’t think this is a man who should be anywhere near our Board of Trade”.
Describing the decision as “awful”, she added: “Is he the sort of man I want to be representing us globally? No.”
Mr Abbott has questioned the existence of climate change and repeatedly been accused of misogyny.
His appointment has been condemned by Labour international trade spokesman Emily Thornberry, who called him an “offensive, aggressive, leering, gaffe-prone misogynist”.
It is understood Trade Secretary Liz Truss will be president of the board and Mr Abbott will be appointed to an advisory role.
Ms Nokes added: “Look at Liz Truss, one of the few women to hold a big job in this Government.
“She is being president of the Board of Trade and she’s being told she’s got to job share with a bloke from Australia.
“Emily Thornberry and I seldom agree on anything but she’s right.
“He’s a misogynist, he’s got very poor views on LGBTQ rights and I just don’t think this is a man who should be anywhere near our Board of Trade.”
In a clip defending himself, Mr Abbott said: “Inevitably if you have convictions, you’ll draw criticism. But if you want to get things done you need people with convictions.”
Mr Abbott only served as leader in Australia for two years before he was ousted by rivals inside Australia’s right-wing Liberal party.
Ms Truss was quizzed over Mr Abbott’s attitudes towards women and LGBTQ people during a recent interview.
The Secretary of State praised Mr Abbott as a “principled politician” and said concerns over his views and record on social issues are “irrelevant” to his possible role on the UK’s board of trade.
The Standard has contacted the Department for International Trade for comment.