Qatar has paid more money on gifts and tours for British MPs in the past year than any other country, corresponding to an Observer assessment that reveals the Gulf state’s urging efforts ahead of next month’s Football World Cup. The Qatari government gifted members of parliament worth £251,208 in the 12 months to October 2022, with luxury hotel breaks, business-class flights, and tickets to horse-racing events.
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The value of Qatar’s gifts was larger than the amount spent by the 15 other countries whose governments made contributions to British MPs combined. And it was more than six times the £37,661 in gifts and generosity given to MPs by the United Arab Emirates, the second-highest foreign government donor.
The gifts for the past 12 months also far surpassed those from Qatar in any other year for which records are offered, showing how agencies stormed up efforts to charm British MPs before the Football World Cup. Documents show MPs stated about £100,000 worth of gifts and hospitality from Qatar in the 5 years to October 2021, but more than twice that in the last 12 months alone.
Openness International told it was very regarding that MPs were receiving thousands of pounds worth of hospitality from overseas governments with dubious human rights records and that this could leave the door open to undue pressure. There is no idea that any MP broke rules, though. The Qatari government went to respond to constant requests for comment. In some cases, MPs who had freebies later appeared to speak favourably about Qatar in legislative debates or to deflect interest away from problems that the authorities have been keen to restrain.
Through a discussion about arrangements for the Football World Cup previous this month, Alun Cairns, who chairs an informal governmental group set up to foster good relatives between the UK and Qatar, made a speech adulatory Qatar, including paying tribute to its response to the caring crisis in Afghanistan. Cairns, Tory MP for the Vale of Glam organ, began the debate on 20 October and later public videos of it on Twitter along with a Nelson Mandela quote: Sport has the power to change the world.
Documents show he accepted £9,323 worth of contributions from the Qatari government in 2022, for a five-day trip in February to meet officials along with other members of the Qatar all-party legislative group (APPG), and for a trip a month later to attend the Doha Forum policy event. The APPG’s assistant chair, David Mundell, who putative welcome worth £7,473 from Qatar for a trip last October, also donated to the debate, replying to a concern elevated by another MP about LGBTQ rights in Qatar by maxim critics should emphasize their vitalities on the handling of LGBT issues in expert football in the UK Rather than just point out issues that might arise in other countries, we still need to emphasis on subjects at home,” he supposed.
Mundell, who was the first openly gay Moderate cabinet minister, also gave an interview to Qatar’s state-run agency this year in which he criticized baseless media reporting about a report into Qatar’s record on worker rights. He did not refer to the International Labour Organization’s decision that despite goals being moved on worker rights in Qatar, there were gaps in application, nor its past research which originate those 50 workers in Qatar lost their lives in 2020 alone, with over 500 harshly hurt and 37,600 sorrow mild to moderate injuries.
Both MPs indicated their stated interests throughout the parliamentary debate. Mundell did not react to requests for comment. A statement from the Qatar APPG, supplied via Cairns, told the group played an effective role in examining all aspects of UK-Qatar affairs, including human rights, ethics, education, energy, and public services.
Lists of Qatar’s contributions were discovered through analysis of statements in the MPs register of activities. The records show 34 MPs confirmed 40 contributions from Qatar in the year to October 2022. Of those, 22 MPs were Tory, seven were Labour, three were SNP and two were separate. Most of the money was paid on trips to Qatar for members of the Qatar APPG to join ministers and government representatives. Throughout two trips, in October 2021 and February 2022, British MPs toured Qatar to discuss problems involving arrangements for the Football World Cup, workers’ rights reform and joint relations, as well as Qatar’s humanitarian and political answer to the Afghanistan crisis, slide logs show.
The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Dealings reimbursed for the all-inclusive visits, usually paying £7,000 to £8,000 per person for flights, hotels, and meals throughout a seven-day trip. A resource told the Spectator that MPs on one tour were put up in luxury hotels with vast swimming pools and trekked business class on Qatar Airways. Some MPs were taken to a camel-racing event and had a personal banquet with officials interested in the delivery of the Football World Cup. They stated that MPs gave officials two casks worth over issues, as well as LGBTQ rights, although they were slick and attractive, and their goal was clear: To develop Qatar’s status in the world.
“They wanted to minimize the criticism of their role in the World Cup, the source said. I came back equally critical. Maybe a couple would have been more sympathetic.”
The APPG did not comment on the allegations that officers were given luxury treatment or approximately which government officials MPs met with through the trips but told visits to consist of conferences with a range of ministers and NGOs, as well as the UN-Sponsored International Labour Association. Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, meanwhile, paid for two MPs to attend the Qatar-sponsored Goodwood festival in Sussex in July, according to the transparency records. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Football World Cup tickets for the Qatar Football World Cup at the best prices. Football fanatics and buy Football World Cup Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.
The MPs were Sir John Whittingdale OBE, the Traditional MP and former society secretary, who took a plus one and stated the gift as be there worth £1,200, and Nigel Evans, Traditional MP for the Ribble Valley. It was the 3rd bequest for Evans from Qatar in nine months. Neither Whittingdale nor Evans responded to calls for comment. The findings will fuel concerns about tried backdoor petitioning by foreign governments in the UK. Other countries that have made aid to MPs in the past 12 months consist of Bahrain, Somaliland, San Marino, Azerbaijan, and Kuwait. Urging by China and Russia has earlier been revealed.
Rose Whiffen, from Openness International, told “too many MPs were displaying poor opinion in receiving gifts from overseas governments. She added that they must honestly consider if it is proper to accept these sorts of trips not just whether they are permitted to. Chris Bryant, Labour MP, and chair of the Commons Committee on Requirements has warned that the assembly is especially vulnerable to foreign influence, saying through a debate in December that we should be cognizant of the danger that a foreign power could be pursuing to lobby out of the back door.”
Bryant is one of the MPs who received a donation in kind from Qatar in the form of an expenses-paid trip but told the government in May that he apologizes for doing so. He has promoted US-style rules which bar members of Congress from receiving contributions and gifts from foreign governments. All visits overseas are given for by Congress. Affairs between the UK and Qatar have wired in current years. In May, the then prime minister, Boris Johnson, declared a tactical investing partnership, which will see Qatar spend in key sectors of the UK economy over the next five years, consisting of fintech, life sciences and cybersecurity. Downing Street told the deal would create new UK jobs and be worth up to £10bn.
Days later, the Ministry of Defence said it would be funding counter-terrorism training for Qatar’s military ahead of the Football World Cup. During the tournament Football World Cup, the RAF and Royal Navy will offer air and sea support. Last week, foreign secretary James Cleverly was condemned after saying gay football followers should be polite in Qatar, which criminalizes their sexuality when joining the Football World Cup. Talking on LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show, he indicated they show a little bit of control and negotiation and be considerate of the host nation. Labour called the comments startlingly tone-deaf.
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