Tory minister Matt Hancock ties himself in knots on live TV defending trade boss Tony Abbott’s rampant homophobia

Matt Hancock defends Tony Abbott

Tory health secretary Matt Hancock gave a car crash interview trying to defend the homophobic views of the UK’s new trade boss Tony Abbott.

Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, appeared on Sky News on Thursday, 3 September, talking about the reported appointment of Australia’s anti-LGBT+ former prime minister Tony Abbott as co-president of the UK Board of Trade.

Ironically wearing an NHS Pride badge, Hancock told Kay Burley that “as the former prime minister of Australia, obviously Mr Abbott has got a huge amount of experience”, to which she responded: “Even if he’s a homophobic misogynist?”

Despite the backlash sparked by Abbott’s appointment over his views on the LGBT+ community and women, Hancock seemed entirely unprepared for the question.

He stuttered: “Well I, I’m, I think that that is, er, I don’t think that’s, er, true. Er, I haven’t seen any…”

Burley continued: “I’m sure you don’t support some of his comments. He’s a homophobe and he’s a misogynist.”

“Well, he’s also an expert in trade,” Hancock meekly said.

Burley asked again: “So we can forgive his comments about women and about letting the elderly die of COVID-19 and about the gay community, even though his sister is gay, we can forgive all of that because he’s good at trade?”

Hancock again refused to answer this question, and two more subsequent questions, about Abbott’s rampant homophobia.

Despite what Matt Hancock says, trade boss Tony Abbott has a long history of anti-LGBT+ comments.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott blocked free votes in parliament on same-sex marriage during his time in office – and became the de facto leader of the anti-gay marriage campaign when his successor Malcolm Turnbull put the issue up for a public vote in 2017.

During the postal vote campaign, Abbott encouraged people to oppose same-sex marriage to “protect women and children”, explaining his belief that “children should have both a mother and a father”.

Abbott also hit out at “moral bullying” from the “gay lobby”, and told Australians: “If you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you are worried about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, vote no. If you don’t like political correctness, vote no, because this is the best way to stop it in its tracks.”

During his campaign, Abbott even suggest it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, worsening a family feud that also led his own children to speak out in support of their aunt.