Former British MP Ian Austin has been appointed trade envoy to Israel. (Richard Vernalls/PA via AP) (Richard Vernalls/PA via AP)
Ian Austin

“Trade with Israel is worth billions to Britain,” MP Ian Austin told the Jewish Chronicle.

By United With Israel Staff 

Former British MP Ian Austin, who quit Labour in February complaining about a “culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance,” which, he said, had overtaken the party, has now been appointed trade envoy to Israel, reports the Jewish Chronicle (JC).

Austin, who now sits as an independent, was handed the new role by Prime Minister Theresa May of the Conservative Party last week, notes the British Jewish news outlet.

Austin has welcomed his new appointment, an unpaid role, as an opportunity to bring jobs and investment to businesses across the U.K., the JC reports.

“Trade with Israel is worth billions to Britain. It has resulted in investment and jobs in businesses across the UK,” he told the JC.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Department for Trade and the brilliant team at our embassy in Israel who are working so hard to help British companies win business in Israel and strengthen the trading relationship between the two countries,” he said.

Israel’s Minister of Economy Eli Cohen and U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox signed a trade and cooperation agreement in February providing for “continuity in trade relations between the two countries after Britain leaves the European Union,” reports the Israeli Globes business news outlet.

“The UK is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe, and its third largest worldwide,” says Globes.

“According to the [UK] Department for International Trade, the agreement ‘allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs,'” reported the JC. The department also said that UK consumers would “continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Israel, such as pharmaceutical products,” the JC explains.

“Commercial, technological, industrial, and academic delegations cross over on a frequent basis,” notes the Israel-Britain Chamber of Commerce.

As compared to Austin’s new role in nurturing relations with Israel, his former party – Labour – continues to face a crisis of anti-Semitism and even objected to the British government’s labeling of Hezbollah as a terror group.