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UK PM Johnson defends former Australian PM Abbott; no confirmation yet of trade job

Fri, 4th Sep 2020 15:00

LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris
Johnson responded to criticism of former Australian prime
minister Tony Abbott, reported to be in line for a job promoting
British trade, by saying that Australia was a liberal country
and had previously elected him.

Abbott, who led Australia from 2013-2015, has attracted
criticism from some British opposition politicians and media
outlets over his views on homosexuality and gender following
reports he was due to be appointed to Britain's Board of Trade.

The government has not confirmed any appointment, but said
he would bring huge expertise to a role as a trade adviser.

"This is a guy who was elected by the people of the great
liberal democratic nation of Australia," Johnson told reporters
when asked about the criticism, and whether he would be given a
job.

"And Australia... it's an amazing country it's a
freedom-loving country, it's a liberal country. There you go, I
think that speaks for itself."

A socially conservative Catholic who was born in England,
Abbott has denied accusations of misogyny. Abbott, a monarchist
who once wrote editorials for Rupert Murdoch's The Australian
newspaper, opposed gay marriage.
(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

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