No deal Brexit will be 'EU's fault,' UK trade advisor Tony Abbott tells LBC

13 December 2020, 13:05 | Updated: 13 December 2020, 13:22

By Joe Cook

UK trade adviser and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday it will be the “EU’s fault” if there is a no deal Brexit.

The former Aussie PM was controversially appointed as a key UK trade adviser on the Board of Trade in September, despite controversy over his past comments.

"Obviously it would be much better to have a Canadian style deal than no deal, but if it turns out to be no deal that is not Britain’s fault, that is the EU’s fault,” Mr Abbott told Tom Swarbrick.

He continued: “[Brexit] is going to happen and it needs to happen on the best possible terms, if the EU is making life difficult, well then that is the EU’s fault.”

Read more: Follow the latest Brexit developments live

His comments come as Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed that Brexit trade talks should be extended yet again.

Following a phone call at 11am on Sunday, the pair released a joint statement announcing their plans to “go the extra mile” and continue negotiations in Brussels.

Read more: No deal Brexit 'bad for Britain and the West', former Australian PM tells LBC

However, Mr Abbott told LBC he believes Britain “is a country of immense capability” and can make a success of a no deal.

“I see my role as an advisor for the board of trade as essentially being a cheerleader for Britain,” he told Tom, “No country on earth has been more influential than Britain and if any country on earth is more than capable of standing on it’s own two feet it is this one.

“If I may say so Tom, part of the problem from the very beginning of the whole EU enterprise has been this declinism and defeatism, which has been too widespread amongst the British establishment, even to this day.

“I fear even now there are many people in the British establishment who would like Brexit to be more difficult than it needs to be, because they never wanted Britain to leave,” he continued.

Read more: Government ramps up No Deal contingency plans

Read more: Nigel Farage: Disruption caused by no-deal Brexit 'will be tiny'

Mr Abbott previously said that he feels "a bit threatened" by homosexuality, opposed same-sex marriage, and was accused of misogyny by fellow former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

Boris Johnson has said he “doesn’t agree” with the controversial comments, but added he “doesn’t agree with everyone who serves the Government in an unpaid capacity on hundreds of boards across the country.”

The PM said Mr Abbott was a "guy who was elected by the people of the great liberal democratic nation of Australia".