The British government has come under further pressure to scrap plans to give former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott a senior trade role amid allegations of homophobia and misogyny.
Downing Street insists no decision has been made but Mr Abbott is in talks to become joint president of the relaunched Board of Trade.
Critics have raised numerous concerns, including over his climate change scepticism and belief that coronavirus restrictions should be lifted.
Prominent LGBT figures including Sir Ian McKellen and Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies have reportedly signed an open letter alongside environmental activists to criticise Mr Abbott's record and ask the government to reconsider.
The letter, reported by ITV News, said: "This is a man who described abortion as 'the easy way out' and suggested that men may be 'by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command'."
It added that Mr Abbott "vigorously campaigned" against Australia's successful marriage equality referendum in 2017 and said climate change is "probably doing good".
"For all these reasons and more besides, this man is not fit to be representing the UK as our trade envoy," the letter added.
It concluded: "If the government is truly committed to an outward-looking future for Britain, to tackling climate change and to creating an equal society for all, it should reconsider its proposed appointment."
Mr Abbott has previously said he felt "a bit threatened" by homosexuality and was accused of misogyny by fellow former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.
He has been defended by his sister Christine Forster.
In a statement posted to Twitter, she wrote: "It is nothing short of dishonesty for commentators and politicians who do not know Tony to label him a 'homophobe and a misogynist' for the purposes of scoring cheap political points.
"As a woman who has always been part of his life and who came out to him as gay in my early 40s, I know incontrovertibly that Tony is neither of those things."
She concluded that her brother would be an "outstanding" UK trade envoy based on his track record as prime minister.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News on Thursday he did not believe Mr Abbott was homophobic or misogynistic and, when pressed, added: "He's also an expert in trade."
After days of criticism, speculation is mounting that Downing Street may back down from their plans.
On Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stressed Mr Abbott has not been handed a role, telling Sky News: "I hate to bring us back to reality but he hasn't been appointed to anything and as far as I know there haven't been any appointments made.
Labour has written to the government urging it not to appoint Mr Abbott, saying to do so would be "completely unacceptable" because of his "offensive and outdated" views.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Abbott's coronavirus views are "deeply offensive and wrong" and he is not fit to be a trade envoy.
Australian Associated Press