David Henig is a leading expert on the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy and dismissed the pointless fury at the Brexiteer’s appointment. Outraged Europhiles claimed the former England cricket captain was unsuitable for the role and was only given it because of his backing for Brexit and personal friendship with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This totally negated the fact that he is chiefly tasked with “batting” for the UK in Australia – where he is infamous for single-handedly defeating the Aussies during the 1981 Ashes series.
And Mr Henig, the director of thinktank the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), also pointed out that the influence of his position had been wildly overblown by Brexit-bashers.
He tweeted: “Lots of attention to the announcement of Ian Botham as trade envoy to Australia.
“Undeserved attention either way – these are quite minor roles which may help or hinder UK Government or business efforts at the margins, but are not central.
“There’s more than enough reasons to criticise the government on trade.
“The fact that the UK trade experts are united in being unbothered about Lord Botham’s trade envoy appointment should tell you this isn’t one of them. Move on.”
This morning Mr Johnson unveiled 10 trade envoys – including Lord Botham – who will boost British business in dynamic markets such as Australia, Brazil and Canada.
The Government already has envoys in more than 60 countries who are drawn from a cross-section of parties.
They will work with the Department for International Trade’s global network to break down barriers to trade.
Welcoming Lord Botham’s appointment, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said she trusted the retired cricketer’s skills and believed that he would “bat for British business Down Under”.