That Wales’ First Minister has raised £13,000 in taxpayers’ money on a trip to see his national team play at the World Cup, it has been revealed.
Mark Drakeford and Business Secretary Vaughan Gething traveled to Doha on 21 November to watch Wales play the USA.
The Labor duo defied mounting criticism of Qatar’s human rights record to watch the game, which ended in a draw.
The cost of Drakeford and Gething’s trip was revealed through a freedom of information request.
Mark Drakeford (centre), First Minister of Wales, during a training session for the national team in Doha November 20
Business Secretary of Wales Vaughan Gething (centre) during a training session at Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar with Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales Noel Mooney (left)
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said: “What these freedom of information requests show is what we have long suspected, that human rights have taken a backseat to the Welsh Government’s priorities during its engagements with Qatar in favor of investment deals.
“It also raises the question of whether it is good value for money to spend £13,000 of taxpayers’ money on a trip to Qatar for two ministers, especially in a cost-of-living crisis.”
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price criticized Mr Drakeford’s trip and the Welsh Liberal Democrats had called it “inappropriate given the country’s human rights record but also an unnecessary use of public funds during the cost of living crisis”.
The Liberal Democrats are asking Welsh Labor to donate £13,000 of its own funds to human rights organizations to help offset the cost to the taxpayer.
It is also claimed that the Welsh Government’s office in Qatar has never been used to promote human rights in the country.
Ms Dodds added: “To offset support for legitimizing a tournament based on human rights abuses, I am now calling on the Welsh Labor Party to donate £13,000 of their own party funds to human rights organizations working to address the various issues in Qatar.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds (pictured) said: “Human rights have taken a back seat to the Welsh Government’s priorities during its engagement with Qatar in favor of investment deals.”
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.”
“I also reiterate my party’s calls that the Welsh Government office in Qatar should be closed. If it is not able to promote human rights, including LGBTQ+ rights and labor rights, among other values of our country, then it should not be open.”
Mr Drakeford admitted the decision to attend was “balanced”.
He said: “It’s a close-run thing. The arguments made by people who have chosen not to come are absolutely real and to be respected.
“In the end our conclusion was that the people of Wales would not have wanted a seat left empty for Wales. It really is a very special opportunity to promote Wales on the world stage.”
UK Labor Party leader Keir Starmer has boycotted the tournament – saying he will be “watching from the sofa”.
British Labor Party leader Keir Starmer has boycotted the tournament, saying he will be “watching from the sofa”.
But Labor colleague Drakeford said: “There is a difference in the responsibility of someone who is the first minister of a nation that has made it to the World Cup final. This is a different set of responsibilities from those exercised by the opposition leader.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The First Minister and Business Minister visited Qatar to support the Wales men’s football team in their first appearance at a World Cup in 64 years.
“This was an opportunity to discuss trade and investment opportunities, meet with members of the Qatari government and attend cultural gatherings to strengthen ties between the two countries. The visit was also an opportunity to share our values on human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, labor rights and political and religious freedom.”
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/wales-first-minister-faces-criticism-after-spending-13000-on-trip-to-qatar-to-watch-world-cup/ Wales’ first minister faces criticism after spending £13,000 on a trip to Qatar to watch the World Cup