Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been appointed as an unpaid trade adviser to the UK government.
Boris Johnson rejected claims Mr Abbott was not suitable for the role, despite criticism over past comments on women, LGBT people and climate change.
The UK prime minister said he did “not agree with those sentiments”.
Mr Abbott, who negotiated trade deals for Australia when in power, will not take part in post-Brexit talks between the UK and other countries.
Instead, he will advise the new Board of Trade, set up to help ministers and encourage firms to do more business internationally.
Mr Abbott was a prominent opponent of same-sex marriage in Australia’s 2017 referendum on the issue and has been accused of making homophobic and misogynist comments in the past.
He has also described the idea of climate change as “faddish” and, last year, claimed the world was “in the grip of a climate cult”.
Asked about the new appointee’s past comments, Mr Johnson said he could not be expected to agree with all the views of everyone who worked with the government.
He said Mr Abbott had been elected by the “great, liberal democratic nation of Australia,” adding: “I think that