All the British politicians who have spoken out against the World Cup in Qatar
As well as all the politicians who’ve backed it
The World Cup in Qatar officially kicked off yesterday (20th November). Weeks of boycotts, celeb protests and brand call-outs have proven useless against the multi-million-pound endorsements and world powers backing it.
It’s important, now more than ever, that our politicians use their platforms to advocate against attending the World Cup. Not only is it punishable by death to be queer in Qatar – but women are treated as second-class citizens, workers’ rights are practically non-existent, and thousands of migrant workers are believed to have died while working on World Cup infrastructure alone (like stadium-building).
With this in mind, here are our politicians who have spoken out against Qatar publicly – and, shockingly, those who’ve backed it:
‘A special opportunity to promote Wales’ – Mark Drakeford
Welsh First Minister (and the leader of Welsh Labour) Mark Drakeford travelled all the way to Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the World Cup. Shockingly enough, he actually tried to defend himself as well!
According to The Guardian, he said: “The arguments that are made by people who have chosen not to come are absolutely real and to be respected. In the end our conclusion was that people in Wales would not have wanted to see a seat for Wales left empty. It really is a very special opportunity to promote Wales on the world stage.”
I’m all for boosting Wales, it’s a beautiful country – but I’m not sure promoting it from a place with so many human rights abuses is the way to go, Mark.
‘Please do be respectful’ – James Cleverly
James Cleverly is the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs – and he also thinks LGBTQ+ people should just “compromise” and go to the football.
He said, “One of the things I would say for football fans is, you know, please do be respectful of the host nation. They are trying to ensure that people can be themselves and enjoy the football, and I think with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup.” Since this statement, he’s received a TON of backlash from the likes of the politicians below.
‘I wouldn’t go’ – Keir Starmer
Now, I’m not saying Keir Starmer made a typically weak statement about why he’s chosen to boycott. (I’m definitely NOT saying that and you should NOT read in-between the lines).
But, when he was asked by LBC whether he’d travel to Doha if England reached the final, he said: “No, I wouldn’t. I’d love to but the human rights record is such I wouldn’t go. That would be the position of the party.”
‘I would not be allowed to be myself’ – Peter Kyle
Labour MP Peter Kyle, who is gay himself, said he’ll be supporting England from home: “If I went as someone who was gay I would not be allowed to be myself and any other people who are like me are being persecuted,” he said.
“I think Qatar should not have had the World Cup in the first place. The whole selection process stunk and even Sepp Blatter says it was a mistake.”
‘It is not safe to be someone like me’ – Luke Pollard
In response to Cleverly’s “respect” comments, Labour MP Luke Pollard stood in the House of Commons and spoke about his experience as a gay football fan.
“‘I declare an interest as a massive gay, but as an England-supporting homosexual it is not safe for someone like me to watch the World Cup in Qatar,” he said, according to Metro. “Because of the human rights abuses of migrant workers and Qatar’s LGBT population I personally don’t think Qatar should ever have been awarded a major sporting competition.”
‘Condemn the Qatari regime’ – Nadia Whittome
In an essay for Gay Times, queer MP Nadia Whittome spoke about the inner conflict she felt as a football fan. “Pressure must be put on public figures not to launder the reputation of Qatar’s brutal government and instead speak out about its crimes,” she wrote.
“It is appalling that David Beckham has signed a reported £10 million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the World Cup, while Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has been effectively telling LGBTQ+ fans to act less gay and is still adamant that he will attend.”
‘We should absolutely not just “focus on football’ – Kate Osborne
Writing for PinkNews, Labour MP Kate Osborne shot down FIFA’s instruction to just “focus on the football.”
She said: “We should absolutely not just ‘focus on the football,’ let’s make sure that at every possible opportunity we are calling on governments, sports people to raise the human rights issues.”
‘Players face being punished for supporting equal rights’ – Michelle Donelan
The England & Wales players have my support. The #OneLove armband promotes diversity & inclusion, which are values we will always stand up for. It is disappointing that our players are put in a position where they face being punished for supporting equal human rights.
— Michelle Donelan MP (@michelledonelan) November 21, 2022
Tory MP Michelle Donelan has spoken out against the decision to remove players’ “One Love” armbands, after they were told they could face sporting sanctions by Fifa for wearing them. She wrote on Twitter: “It is disappointing that our players are put in a position where they face being punished for supporting equal human rights.”
The armbands were originally supposed to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within football.
This is a breaking story and will be continuously updated.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
- Explained: This is why so many people are boycotting this year’s World Cup in Qatar
- These five ‘LGBTQ+ friendly’ brands are also sponsoring the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
- Dua Lipa and Mel C: Every celeb who has spoken out against Qatar hosting the World Cup
Featured image via BBC, ITV and YouTube before edits.