Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has been appointed to the UK's Board of Trade, despite critics arguing that he was not suitable to be a government trade adviser.

Numerous concerns were raised over allegations of homophobia and misogyny against the 62-year-old, as well as his climate change scepticism and belief that coronavirus restrictions should be lifted.

Mr Abbott has previously said that he feels "a bit threatened" by homosexuality, opposed same-sex marriage being made legal in Australia and was accused of misogyny by his countrywoman and fellow former prime minister, Julia Gillard.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy tweeted: "Earlier in the week the government as much as admitted Tony Abbott is a homophobe and a misogynist. They just don't care."

But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended him, heralding his status as a former leader of "freedom-loving" and "liberal" Australia.

Yesterday the Health Secretary Matt Hancock was asked about Mr Abbotts suitability for the role. He said he didn't believe he was homophobic or misogynistic but, when pressed, added: "He's also an expert in trade."

The UK’s Department for International Trade has now formally announced that Mr Abbott will form part of the new-look Board of Trade, in what is said to be an unpaid role.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "The new Board of Trade will play an important role in helping Britain make the case for free and fair trade across the UK and around the world.

"At a time of increased protectionism and global insecurity, it's vital that the UK is a strong voice for open markets and that we play a meaningful role in reshaping global trading rules alongside like-minded countries.

"The new board will help us do that, bringing together a diverse group of people who share Britain's belief in free enterprise, democracy, and high standards and rules-based trade."