The comments made by Emily Thornberry, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, on 4 September 2020.
From the first moment Tony Abbott was proposed for this role on Britain’s Board of Trade, I’ve said we need to judge him not just on his despicable personal history of offensive statements and views, but on his equally dismal professional record as well.
Tony Abbott wilfully destroyed what was left of Australia’s car industry after taking office in 2013, with the calculated withdrawal of government support, and the deliberate goading of overseas investors to quit. A once proud industry employing 200,000 workers was left to die.
We cannot have a man like that in charge of trade talks which will have a direct bearing on the future of British car manufacturing in Sunderland, Solihull, Ellesmere Port, Halewood, Burnaston, Oxford and elsewhere, especially when the industry is already under huge economic pressure.
I’ve been saying for the past week we need to listen to the Australians who know Abbott best, and they are warning us loud and clear: do not let this man do to your car industry what he did to ours.