Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Foreign minister says LGBT+ fans should ‘respect’ Qatar’s laws.

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In the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Labor MP Chris Bryant pressed Mr Cleverly on the upcoming World Cup.

Mr Bryant asked whether the Foreign Secretary would advise gay fans to demonstrate in Qatar, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

“No, I wouldn’t,” Mr. Cleverly replied.

“When British nationals travel abroad, they should respect the laws of their host country.”

Late last month, Mr. Cleverly came under fire for suggesting that LGBT+ fans should be “respectful to the host country” en route to the World Cup..

On Monday, Mr Bryant insisted that no fans should travel to the tournament.

“I don’t think the Qatar World Cup should have been awarded because workers have been killed constructing the buildings, migrants have been treated appallingly and gay men are routinely arrested by police and then jailed – especially when they are. As a Muslim in Qatar, you face the death penalty,” he said.

“So I think none of that should happen, but then you come out and say gays should respect Qatar — it feels a bit like a slap in the face.”

Mr Cleverly replied: “There will be LGBTQ+ football fans traveling to Qatar, I want them to be safe. My question is really what advice I should realistically give to gay fans who want to watch football, other than advice that I believe will protect them.”

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He said he had told the Qatari authorities “how important it is to us that they respect gay fans” and stressed “we are very proud to work for gay rights around the world”.

Mr Cleverly also confirmed he will be attending the football tournament, adding that it is his job to ensure British visitors to Qatar are safe.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and his frontbench are boycotting the tournament – which starts on Sunday – over concerns for LGBT+ rights, women’s rights and workers who have lost their lives.

The World Cup starts on Sunday. England play Iran on Monday before Wales take on the USA.

The Federal Foreign Office states that “any intimacy between people in public may be considered offensive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or intention”.

Shadow Secretary of State David Lammy said: “It is an insult to LGBT+ fans that James Cleverly will travel to Qatar before he has even apologized for his prehistoric suggestion that they should ‘compromise’ their sexuality.

“Rather than doubling down, Cleverly should retract its statements and receive concrete assurances from the highest levels of the Qatari government that fans will not face criminal penalties for loving who they love.”

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