Abbott’s bizarre ‘72 virgins’ remark
TONY Abbott joked he would be "happy to meet" 72 virgins during a speech he presented in London.
Speaking to the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, as part of a series of speeches delivered in Europe, the former Australian prime minister urged British conservatives to deliver Brexit.
Afterwards, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, one questioner made reference to Boris Johnson's first novel, Seventy Two Virgins.
"I too am a keen student of Mr Johnson, I'm not sure if you've read Seventy Two Virgins as well as his book on Churchill?" he said.
With a laugh, Mr Abbott replied: "No, but I'd be happy to meet them though."
"If you know where you do meet 72 virgins, I don't think you'd be so keen on that," the questioner said.
"You obviously have more intelligence over these things than I do," responded Mr Abbott.
During his speech, Mr Abbott urged British conservatives to govern with common sense and not "worry too much about the finer points of ideology and economics" in the case of Brexit.
"I would think that the easiest election to fight and win is an election where you are saying to the people 'I'm on your side'," he said.
"So, if it is an election that pits the parliament versus the people and the people's champion, well, I know which side I'd rather be working for.
"Still, the next few weeks will be full of political fury as Remainers plot to sabotage Brexit or to turn it into a self-vindicating disaster.
"They will fail, though, because in the end there won't be enough of them to usurp a democratic vote, to sacrifice their country for short-term political gain and to put Europe before Britain."
At this point, Mr Abbott quoted the Bible, saying: "As the scripture says, 'He who puts his hand to the plough and then turns back is not worthy of the Kingdom'."
He also made reference to the protests in Hong Kong and its former British rule, saying: "Not for nothing is it the British flag, that's again seen on the streets of Hong Kong, 22 years after its people last truly knew freedom under the law.
"If they thought that Britain would be lost in Europe, as they fear being lost in China, they'd hardly be carrying your flag. For them, it's a symbol of freedom; and for you, surely, a source of pride in all you have done and all you yet can do."