Brexit: Cricket legend Ian Botham named UK’s new trade envoy to Australia

English cricket legend Sir Ian “Beefy” Botham has been appointed the UK’s new trade envoy to Australia, the government has exposed.

Intercontinental trade secretary Liz Truss stated the Brexit-backing athletics star would do a “brilliant job” drumming up trade for Britain as one of 10 new envoys about the world.

“Delighted we have appointed cricket legend Ian Botham as our new trade envoy to Australia,” the cupboard minister tweeted.

“Ian will bat for business enterprise down below and help them seize the opportunities designed by our historic trade offer. He’ll do a good occupation.”

A Depart campaigner, Sir Ian has attacked the “dying EU” and been a fierce critic of anti-Brexit voices. “When are these people going to accept and get on with the simple fact that we had a referendum … Transfer on!!” he tweeted in 2016.

Sir Ian – handed a peerage very last calendar year by Boris Johnson’s federal government along with other Brexit campaigners – claimed: “It’s a excellent honour to carry out this position in a place that I appreciate and have come to know so nicely.

The ex-England cricketer – who reportedly the moment said “Aussies are big and empty, just like the country” – extra: “I have used a important amount of my job in Australia, and I am excited to have the chance.”

Labour accused the Conservatives of “hypocrisy” right after the cricket icon was handed the position. Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner recalled Tory MP Natalie Elphicke’s criticism of Marcus Rashford for “playing politics” with his perform on foods poverty, for which the Dover MP later on apologised.

“England footballer Marcus Rashford really should stick to football and not get involved in politics when he attempts to make sure little ones really do not go hungry,” explained Ms Rayner. “But previous England cricketer Ian Botham should get involved in politics and is appointed a authorities trade envoy.”

Several other Brexiteers have been handed top employment with Ms Truss’s division. Baroness Kate Hoey, the previous Labour MP who was offered a peerage in 2020, has been appointed trade envoy to Ghana. DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been handed the equivalent job for Cameroon.

Meanwhile, Tory MP David Mundell has been produced trade envoy to New Zealand, and Labour MP Stephen Timms requires up the same write-up for both Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

John Woodcock – the previous Labour MP who endorsed the Conservatives at the previous standard election – has been appointed to Tanzania. There are also roles for Tory MPs Mark Eastwood (Pakistan), Marco Longhi (Brazil), Conor Burns (Canada) and Felicity Buchan (Iceland and Norway).

“Trade envoys are parliamentarians appointed by the prime minister, drawn from each Houses and throughout the political spectrum,” reported a spokesperson for the Department for Worldwide Trade. “The roles are unpaid and voluntary.”

George Brandis, Australia’s ambassador in the United kingdom, stated he was delighted by Sir Ian’s appointment. “Marvellous news Liz and what a great appointment!” he tweeted.

He included: “Australia seems forward to welcoming Lord Botham down underneath – and to doing the job with him to strengthen the trading backlinks between our two nations around the world.”

Criticising the appointment, SNP MP Angus MacNeil, chair of the international trade pick out committee, stated: “An Australian trade offer can only recover £2 of each and every £490 that Brexit costs. Spin, bowlers or in any other case, will not alter this.”

Former civil servant and anti-Brexit campaigner Siobhan Benita added: “If you didn’t now imagine World-wide Britain has develop into a laughing stock on the world stage, the appointment of Ian Botham as the UK’s trade envoy to Australia seriously should really start ringing some alarm bells.”

Many on social media have been doubtful about Sir Ian’s appointment, with some sharing excerpts from an interview he gave to The Guardian in November 2020 on his appointment to the Lords.

He said: “I’m having fun with it and will be at Westminster additional normally when we get back to standard, in particular when they are debating anything I know about – like activity or the countryside. Not substantially issue if it’s a trade deal with Japan.”