In an awkward exchange with Sky‘s Kay Burley, Health Secretary Matt Hancock seemingly excused homophobic and misogynistic comments by the former Australian PM, Tony Abbott, because he is an “expert on trade”.
The former PM is reportedly being eyed up to be the joint president of the UK’s Board of Trade as the UK prepares its trade deals upon leaving the EU.
Previously Abbott opposed gay marriage before it became legal in Australia and said that he feels a “bit threatened by homosexuality”.
“I don’t believe that’s true”
Hancock firstly argued that he didn’t believe Tony Abbott to be a homophobe or a misogynist, saying, “I don’t believe that’s true, I haven’t seen any of his (comments)”
When Burley replied, “I just told you what he said, I’m sure you don’t support some of his comments, he’s a homophobe and a misogynist”, Hancock’s response was. “He’s also an expert on trade”.
Pressing the point, Burley went on to ask, “So one plays off each other? Really? Is that what you’re really saying, Health Secretary? Come on!”
Hancock responded, “No, what I’m saying is that we need experts in different areas and the former Prime Minister of Australia is obviously an enormous expert in the area of trade. it doesn’t change my views.
So forgive because he’s good at trade?
Burley continued, “So we can forgive his comments about women and about letting the elderly die of Covid-19 and his views on the gay community, even though his sister is gay. We can forgive all of that because he’s good at trade?”
Hancock didn’t answer the question and went back to form, by saying, “I’m doing everything in my power to prevent a second wave and protect people from coronavirus
At which Burley butted in and remonstrated the Health Secretary, by pointing out “That was not my question”, she asked, “Is he a fit and proper person to represent us?”
“Mr Abbott is very good and very experienced in trade”, responded Hancock, “It is clearly a very important decision that the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) and the Trade Secretary are across, because we do want experts… and have huge experience”