Wales First Minister spends £13,000 on World Cup trip to Qatar

Wales First Minister spends £13,000 on World Cup trip to Qatar

It has been discovered that the First Minister of Wales spent £13,000 of taxpayer money on a trip to see his national side compete in the World Cup.

Mark Drakeford (centre), First Minister of Wales, during a training session for the national team in Doha on November 20

Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething traveled to Doha on November 21 to witness Wales play the United States.

The two Labour politicians rejected rising criticism of Qatar’s human rights record in order to watch the game, which ended in a tie. Eight days later, they were present as Wales fell 3-0 to England.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the cost of Drakeford and Gething’s trip was revealed.

Mark Drakeford (center), the First Minister of Wales, attends a national team training session in Doha on 20 November.

During a training session at the Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar, Minister for the Economy of Wales Vaughan Gething (center) and chief executive of the football association of Wales Noel Mooney were present (left)Minister for the Economy of Wales, Vaughan Gething (centre) during a training session at the Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar, with chief executive of the football association of Wales Noel Mooney (left)

Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, stated, “These Freedom of Information requests confirm what we have long suspected: that the Welsh government’s interactions with Qatar have prioritized business agreements over human rights.”

Furthermore, it is questionable if spending £13,000 on a trip to Qatar for two ministers represents good value for money, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.

The head of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price, criticized Mr. Drakeford’s travel, while the Welsh Liberal Democrats deemed it “unacceptable given the country’s human rights record and a needless use of public funds during the cost-of-living crisis.”

The Liberal Democrats are requesting that Welsh Labour spend £13,000 from its own finances to human rights organizations to offset the expense borne by taxpayers.Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds (pictured) said: 'Human rights have taken a backseat in the Welsh government's priorities during its engagements with Qatar in favour of investment deals'

It further asserts that the office of the Welsh Government in Qatar has never been utilized to promote human rights in the nation.

Ms. Dodds said, ‘In order to make amends for helping to legitimize a tournament based on human rights violations, I am now asking on the Welsh Labour Party to pay £13,000 from their own party finances to human rights groups that address the numerous problems in Qatar.

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds (pictured), stated that the Welsh government’s relations with Qatar had placed financial deals ahead of human rights.Drakeford (pictured at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on November 20) said: 'It really is a very special opportunity to promote Wales on the world stage'

Drakeford (seen at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on 20 November) stated, “This is a truly unique chance to showcase Wales on the international stage.”

“I am also reaffirming my party’s proposals for the closure of the Welsh Government office in Qatar. If it cannot support human rights, including LGBTQ+ rights and labor rights, alongside other American ideals, it should not be allowed to operate.

Mr. Drakeford acknowledged that the attendance decision was “finely balanced.”

He stated, “It’s a close race.” The reasons of those who choose not to attend are entirely valid and deserving of respect.

“In the end, we determined that the people of Wales would not have wanted a Welsh seat to remain vacant. It is truly a unique opportunity to promote Wales on the international stage.UK Labour party leader Keir Starmer has boycotted the tournament - saying he will 'watch from the sofa'

Keir Starmer, leader of the British Labour Party, has boycotted the event, stating that he will “watch from the sofa.”

 

However, Labour colleague Drakeford stated, “The responsibilities of the first minister of a nation that has reached the World Cup final is distinct.” That is a distinct set of obligations than those held by the opposition leader.’

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government stated, ‘The First Minister and the Minister for the Economy traveled to Qatar to cheer on the Welsh men’s football team as they competed in their first World Cup in 64 years.

This was a chance to explore trade and business prospects, meet with representatives of the Qatari government, and participate in cultural exchanges to enhance connections between the two nations. The tour was also an opportunity to express our beliefs regarding human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, worker’s rights, and political and religious liberty

 

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