Starmer at odds with Welsh Government as he confirms Labour World Cup snub
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has revealed that he will not attend the World Cup in Qatar next month, and says neither will any of his senior colleagues.
A Welsh Government spokesperson had confirmed on Saturday that First Minister Mark Drakeford will be attending the tournament, alongside a Welsh Government delegation that includes Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Dawn Bowden, the deputy minister for Arts and Sports and the Chief Whip.
Last week, it was reported that Lucy Powell, the UK party’s shadow culture and sport secretary, received an invitation to attend from the Qatari government but turned it down.
This follows concerns over the treatment of construction workers and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in the country.
Asked if he would go to the final if England reached it, Mr Starmer told LBC: “No, I wouldn’t. I’d love to, but I think that the human rights record is such that I wouldn’t go, and that would be the position of the Labour Party.”
Pressed on whether he would attend any of the games, he said: “No.”
He said the case would be the same for his senior colleagues.
Last month Mr Gething told the Senedd that a delegation from the Welsh Government would travel to Qatar “to promote Wales and engage in diplomacy”.
They are expected to watch each of Wales’ group games against the USA, Iran and England, as well as others depending on the progress of the team in the tournament.
During his statement, Mr Gething acknowledged there were “significant challenges” with the World Cup being hosted in Qatar, citing its human rights and workers’ rights records, and some LGBTQ+ fans not travelling there.
He said: “We will use our platform as an opportunity to express our values and to demonstrate that Wales is a nation of values on the world stage.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are proud that Wales will be competing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“We believe that it is better to engage with countries that do not always share our values on human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, workers’ rights and political and religious freedom.
“Engaging with countries provides an opportunity to develop a platform for further discussion, to raise awareness and to potentially influence a change in approach.”
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The situation is a bit different when you are in government than in opposition. I’m guessing the Welsh government is going there not for Qatar, but for the fact that the whole world will be viewing there and we need some political representation other than the useless English government that Wales never voted for.
I came down here to say I was with Kier Starmer on this one but having read your comment I can see the other side now!
Yeah starmer has double standards he’d visit Israel and the US whose human rights records are spalling .
Who will Bristolian Dawn Bowden be supporting?
Today, a story broke about Australian women sueing Qatar over forced vaginal exams.
This may be the only opportunity the team get to play at a World Cup, so they should go. But they should be our only respesentatives. Our politicians should be staying away from such a horrible regime.
Exactly. We’ve endured a great deal of virtue signaling from this feeble crew and when an opportunity presents itself to send a message we get 3 of them grabbing the chance of a jolly and pretending they are going to influence those rabid adherents of an array of repressive ideals. And which budget will they be draining for this trip?
I’d start with a fact finding trip supported by Cwmni Egino and other ‘private venture’ / Gov. enterprises…I wonder how this will go down with the green men and women of festival land…
As far as I can understand Starmer’s response to union strikers is that a government in waiting is different from leading a protest group and the options of actions are very different. Aren’t the options of actions very different here too? What will Starmer do when PM and is asked to meet Qatar regime? Will he refuse? But how much will Drakeford be able to raise issues regarding LGBTQ+ or migrant worker’s rights? If not at all then substance of travel will be lost and risks being seen to tacitly support the regime as is. It’s difficult, but I’d expect… Read more »
This is not a political matter. Starmer may well be a cowardly Brexit enabling weathercock, but who cares if he goes to the world cup or not?
I’m not going either, but that’s because I couldn’t give that much of a stuff about football.
I mean I hope Cymru do really well, but I won’t be watching it
Yet starmer would take an invitation from Israel and no doubt the US two of the worst offenders of human rights the man has no scruples clearly.