Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

Prince Philip’s role in ousting Australian PM Tony Abbott exposed

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Tony Abbott will reportedly become Britain’s new joint President of the Board of Trade. The 62-year-old, a vocal supporter of Brexit, will be tasked with striking trade deals for the UK around the world. He will reportedly hold the role jointly with UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The Board of Trade has traditionally been made up of British politicians and business executives.

Its mission is to “champion exports and inward and outward investment to deliver economic growth and prosperity”.

His appointment is yet to be made official but a Downing Street source told The Sun “we are delighted to have him”.

Mr Abbott led Australia from 2013 to 2015 and he is a staunch monarchist.

It was arguably his attachment to Queen Elizabeth II that led to his demise as Prime Minister.

Mr Abbott was heavily criticised for bringing back the titles of knighthood and damehood to Australia, almost three decades after they were abolished.

His subsequent decision to grant an award to Prince Philip was denounced even by his supporters and prompted him to insist he would run a more consultative government and avoid further “captain’s picks”.

In his first big interview since he lost his seat in Parliament in 2019, Mr Abbott told The Australian he should not have offered the award to Prince Philip in 2015.

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He said: “There is absolutely no doubt that there were a couple of things I did, particularly the restoration of knighthoods, which caused me a lot of grief.

“I shouldn’t have made it the Prime Minister’s personal pick.”

He then added that he should have left it to the Council for the Order of Australia, an independent body charged with conferring honours.

Mr Abbott, who sat in the Australian parliament for 25 years until he lost his Sydney seat last year to Zali Steggall, a barrister and former Olympic skier, said that he had “mostly” forgiven those who had turned against him, had no “lasting enmities” and would consider returning to Parliament.

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He added: “If the Liberal Party ever wanted me to do that, I would be more than happy to consider it, but I find it difficult to imagine the circumstances that they would want me.

“I’m not ruling it out but I’m not expecting it to happen.”

Mr Abbott made clear that he blamed his Liberal Party rival, Malcolm Turnbull, for undermining him and bringing his premiership to an early end two years after he had led his party back into power.

He concluded: “We got a lot done in two years but look, my problem was that I had one colleague who was never happy to be someone else’s minister.

“It wasn’t that we had a divided government.

“It was more that there was one person who was determined to get to the top by hook or by crook. Malcolm always thought it was his destiny to be Prime Minister, and I happened to be the obstacle to that, and so he dealt with me as best he could.”

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