Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has reportedly been lined up to become an international trade “czar” for the UK post-Brexit.
The Sun reports that Abbott will be appointed joint head of the UK’s Board of Trade, serving alongside international trade secretary Liz Truss.
Bevan Shields, the European correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, disputed this on Twitter, saying Abbott was likely to join the Board of Trade only in an advisory capacity.
Yahoo Finance UK understands no final decision has yet been taken on Abbott’s appointment.
The Board of Trade and Tony Abbott have all been approached for comment. The Department for International Trade declined to comment.
London-born Abbott served as prime minister of Australia from 2013 to 2015 but lost his seat in Australia’s parliament last year. Conservative Abbott is said to be close to UK prime minister Boris Johnson, according to The Sun.
The Board of Trade aims to “champions exports, inward investment and outward direct investment to deliver economic growth and prosperity across the whole of the United Kingdom,” according to its website. Members are drawn from the world of both business and politics.
The body’s was set up in the 1600s but fell dormant before being revived by former international trade secretary Liam Fox in 2017.
Abbott, a vocal supporter of Brexit, will help the UK drum up trade and business internationally post-Brexit by acting as an ambassador for British trade abroad, according to The Sun.
Abbott recently appeared on a virtual panel alongside UK trade minister Liz Truss discussing how to advance British trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Abbott also retweeted Truss’ messages about the event.
In June, Abbott retweeted a video message from Boris Johnson calling on the UK and Australia to “turn out shared history and friendship into and world-leading free trade agreement.” The UK began trade talks with Australia and New Zealand two months ago.