Government hires former UKIP MP as Brexit trade advisor

Douglas Carswell campaigns for Vote Leave

Douglas Carswell campaigns for Vote Leave - Credit: Getty Images

A former UKIP MP has been appointed by Liz Truss as a government trade advisor.

Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Tories to UKIP in 2014, has become one of four new non-executive directors to the Department for International Trade (DIT) to "bring vast experience and expertise to the department at a critical time for the UK as a trading nation".

He joins Andrew Hood, founding partner at Oxford Research and Analysis, Dominic Johnson - chief executive at Jacob Rees Mogg's former firm Somerset Capital Management - and economist and author Dr Dambisa Moyo.

They will serve for three years in the role to "provide independent advice, support and scrutiny on the department’s work, to support the government’s ambitious trade policy agenda", the department said.

It added that the appointments "will help the department execute its key priorities including striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules".

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Truss said of the appointments: "They will help execute our strategic priorities, in particular driving forward our trade deal negotiations programme, our export and investment campaigns, and our work on reforming and reshaping global trade rules.

"All of them are high quality appointments who believe fiercely in rules-based free trade.

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"They will play a big role in re-establishing the UK as a major force in global trade, and will help take our trade agenda to the next level in 2021 and beyond."

The department added: "The non-executive board members were appointed following an open and fair selection process."

The government was previously criticised for appointing former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to the Board of Trade despite offensive remarks.

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