Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott | Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
UK trade secretary defends Tony Abbott against criticisms he is a misogynist and homophobic
Liz Truss said the opposition to the former Australian’s prime minister’s appointment to the UK’s Board of Trade was coming from those on the Left.
Updated 9/3/20, 12:51 PM CET
LONDON — U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss accused Labour of “virtue signaling” Thursday as she came under fire in parliament over former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s role on the Board of Trade.
Truss said the opposition party “would rather virtue signal and indulge in tokenism rather than take real action to improve the lives of women” after she was questioned about Abbott’s record of misogynistic and homophobic comments.
The exchange followed Sky News anchor Kay Burley’s questions about Abbott’s record to Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier in the day. Hancock defended Abbott’s comments and underscored his role would focus on trade, in which Hancock said he has a “huge amount of expertise.”
In parliament, Truss said the opposition was only coming from “those on the left of politics” and accused them of “hypocrisy” over Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s 2014 comments that former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey should be “lynched.”
Trade Minister Greg Hands also defended Abbott stating Britain “should welcome” his interest in working on a board that advances the country’s trade interests.