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Lord Ian Botham named UK trade ambassador to Australia

Lord Botham was appointed to the House of Lords in 2020. GETTY IMAGES


Lord Ian Botham named UK trade ambassador to Australia


The government has selected Ian Botham, a former England cricketer and crossbench peer, as the UK’s trade ambassador to Australia.

Lord Botham is one of ten new trade envoys appointed by the government to assist in “delivering an ambitious global trade agenda” as the UK attempts to reach trade agreements across the world following Brexit.

The DIT has also assigned ex-Labour MP and Brexit supporter Baroness Kate Hoey to Ghana, while DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson expands his post as Egypt’s trade ambassador to include Cameroon.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said in a tweet praising Botham’s appointment that he will “bat for business down under” and help businesses take advantage of the prospects offered by the free trade agreement with Australia reached in principle last summer.

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

“Ian will bat for business down under and help them seize the opportunities created by our historic trade deal. He’ll do a brilliant job.”


After retiring from cricket, the all-rounder – nicknamed Beefy – became a Sky Sports pundit before launching his own wine in 2001. Since then, he has worked with vineyards around Australia to develop a variety of wines under the Ian Botham Wines label.

Because of his strong support for Brexit, Botham is popular with Boris Johnson and his ministers, and he was awarded a peerage in the honours list last summer. He is widely considered as one of England’s best ever cricketers, and he is well-known in Australia, not least because he is credited with nearly single-handedly beating Australia’s squad during the 1981 Ashes trip.

Sir Ian has blasted the “dying EU” and been a harsh critic of anti-Brexit voices as a Leave campaigner. “When are these people going to accept and get on with the fact that we had a referendum … Move on!!” he tweeted in 2016.

When Lord Botham was created a lord, he told the Guardian that he was looking forward to returning to Westminster more when the COVID limitations were relaxed.

“Especially when they are debating something I know about – like sport or the countryside. Not much point if it’s a trade deal with Japan,” he said.

The ten new trade envoys, according to Truss, will help increase business possibilities in some of the world’s fastest-growing regions.

“Our trade envoys play a key role in delivering our ambitious global trade agenda, and I am delighted the prime minister has appointed 10 trade envoys who will boost opportunities for British businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing markets,” she continued.

“By boosting exports, promoting inward investment and creating high-value, high-paying jobs, our trade envoys will help us build back better from COVID-19, ensuring every part of the UK benefits from our trade strategy.”

Sir Ian said: “It’s a great honour to carry out this role in a country that I love and have come to know so well.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards corrected Botham during a Westminster discussion on the Bank of England’s rebranding, which he suggested should be renamed the Sterling Central Bank to properly represent its position in the UK.

“Many of those present today in the debate will also have heard that my schoolboy hero Sir Ian Botham on Daily Politics yesterday, in reference to the EU referendum, said ‘England is an island and we should be proud’.”

He added: “Despite dubious geographical knowledge this is a continual error suffered by the other nations of the UK at the hands of those who confuse England to mean a larger entity.

“It is an injustice that persists in cricket with Wales denied a national team in its own right, as well as the other nations of the UK denied recognition when it comes to the central bank.

“If the British state is a partnership of equals all its institutions must reflect that reality, including perhaps the most important institution underpinning its financial system – the central bank.”

As part of the department’s export promotion efforts, trade envoys assisted more than £16 billion in UK exports in 2020-21, according to the Department for International Trade.

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