Mundell and Botham among 10 new trade envoys
Batting for Britain: David Mundell and Lord (Ian) Botham
Former Scottish Secretary David Mundell and the one-time England cricketer Ian Botham are among 10 trade envoys appointed by Boris Johnson to promote Britain around the world.
Mr Mundell has been appointed to New Zealand while Lord Botham gets to test his business skills against his cricketing prowess by being appointed envoy to his former foe Australia.
International trade secretary Liz Truss tweeted that the former all-rounder would “bat for UK business down under”, adding that the trade envoys would play a “key role” in delivering the government’s “ambitious global trade agenda”.
Trade envoys are a network of parliamentarians drawn from across the political spectrum, who are appointed by the prime minister. They are unpaid, voluntary roles.
They engage with markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by UK government. The government already has envoys in more than 60 countries.
Mr Mundell said: “There are huge opportunities to increase trade between the UK and New Zealand from a prospective free trade agreement. I will be looking to build on the strong historic links between New Zealand and the UK, but also to grasp new opportunities.
“As Secretary of State for Scotland, I promoted Scottish and UK products and services, from whisky to tech and found a welcoming and receptive audience. Together, I am sure we can turn that positive attitude into real business and subsequently jobs for both countries.”
Lord Botham, who played 102 Test matches for England between 1977 and 1992, is an advocate of field sports and a prominent Brexit supporter who was knighted in 2007, in recognition of his services to charity and cricket.
He was a team captain on the BBC quiz show Question of Sport and launched his own wine label.
He currently sits as a crossbench – independent – peer in the House of Lords.
The UK and Australia recently agreed a free trade deal, the first to be built from scratch since the UK left the EU and covering goods such as cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics.
However, some UK farmers have raised concerns they may be undercut on price and standards.
In 2020-21, trade envoys supported more than £16bn of UK exports, the government said.
The full list of new appointments is:
Lord Botham appointed to Australia
Baroness Hoey appointed to Ghana
Stephen Timms MP appointed to Switzerland and Lichtenstein
David Mundell MP appointed to New Zealand
Mark Eastwood MP appointed to Pakistan
Marco Longhi MP appointed to Brazil
Conor Burns MP appointed to Canada
Lord Walney [John Woodcock] appointed to Tanzania
Felicity Buchan MP appointed to Iceland and Norway
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP appointed to Cameroon, in addition to his role as Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Egypt.