Drakeford Lapped up Luxury 5* Qatari-Funded Hotel Stay

Co-conspirators will need no reminder of Labour’s stance on the Qatar World Cup, with Sir Keir very eager to publicise his Shadow Cabinet’s boycott. This message didn’t reach Cardiff, however. A BBC FOI Request has revealed that Mark Drakeford’s harsh words for Qatar’s human rights record didn’t weigh on his conscience, as he enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to the Arab nation; with £13,000 flights and a five-star hotel stay. All courtesy of the Qatari government.

The First Minister and his entourage were treated to three nights in the swanky Ritz-Carlton in Doha. While there, the first minister enjoyed access to seven restaurants, a private beach and a 235-slip marina. The First Minister would also have been able to bask in the glow of the largest chandelier in the Middle East…

After a hard day of “raising concerns”, Drakeford would have been able to relax in the hotel’s luxury spa.

Perfect for managing Mark’s “anxieties” about human rights, workers’ rights and LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar.

mdi-timer 4 January 2023 @ 13:48 4 Jan 2023 @ 13:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lee Anderson Takes On Gary Neville’s Workers’ Rights Hypocrisy

Many viewers of ITV’s coverage of the World Cup Final were displeased with one instance of pre-match pontificating, and none more so than Lee Anderson. The MP took to Twitter to call out Gary Neville, who utilised his platform to proclaim “we’ve got a current government in our country who are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and, terrifyingly, nurses”. Moralistic lectures don’t hit so hard when delivered from Qatari TV studios…

Gary responded that he was pleased with Lee’s reaction, calling the Conservatives “the biggest set of charlatans to ever be in power!”. Lee didn’t take this attack lying down – he challenged Gary to stand against him in Ashfield. Neville rejected the offer, before getting another shot off:

Though Anderson hit right back, pointing out that Gary, so keen to argue for workers’ rights, was less happy to practise what he preaches. His hotel employs British staff on zero-hours contracts. Quite the own goal.

Guido has found yet more instances of Gary’s low-pay double standards. Indeed reports that his hotel has wages at just £7.50 an hour, whilst Neville’s Salford City F.C. makes the most of unpaid labour to coach its women’s team. Gary also has held extensive investments in Malta, a country with its own problems with workers’ rights.Detesting low pay” doesn’t extend to his own businesses…

mdi-timer 19 December 2022 @ 11:44 19 Dec 2022 @ 11:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
EPP’s “Holier-Than-Thou” Partisan Preaching Backfires

As the European Socialists and Democrats’ European Parliament group continues to grapple with corruption charges, the centre-right European People’s Party wasted little time in getting on the front foot. The party group pulled no punches, calling out the S&D’s “holier-than-thou” attitude and “hypocritical” lecturing.

They went further, saying “[the scandal] has a name. It has an address. And that’s the S&D group”, arguing it shows “how deep the left’s disdain for democracy is”. The criticisms even received the backing of EPP heavyweight Manfred Weber. It’s certainly a powerful line of attack…

Or at least it was. Within mere hours of the statement, the European Public Prosecutor’s office announced it was probing two MEPs. One of whom is Maria Spyraki: a member of the EPP…

Today, in accordance with the procedures laid down by Union law, the European Chief Prosecutor requested the lifting of immunity of Ms Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, and Ms Maria Spyraki, Member of the European Parliament.

Based on an investigative report received from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), there is a suspicion of fraud detrimental to the EU budget, in relation to the management of the parliamentary allowance, and in particular concerning the remuneration of Accredited Parliamentary Assistants.”

Spyraki, a former “MEP of the year”, is not even the only EPP figure to come under scrutiny. Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský has also been criticised for an undisclosed trip to Bahrain. Clearly Brussels’ issues with corruption are deep-rooted. To quote the EPP’s own statement, “if this is not systemic, then what is it?”

mdi-timer 16 December 2022 @ 17:07 16 Dec 2022 @ 17:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Climate Adviser Falls Foul In Human Rights Fail

Lord Deben, the scandal-ridden chair of the Climate Change Committee, has once again displayed his flexible standards. Deben’s consultancy company, Sancroft, published an article about “Learning from Qatar” in the context of the controversy around the World Cup. Deben’s firm advises football clubs to reduce their human rights risk and “create positive change on social issues”. It argues clubs should be vigilant in their supply chains to mitigate human rights concerns. However, Sancroft clearly hasn’t taken its own advice. The environmental advisory company takes money from gas-selling Qatari ministers…

This raises another issue of transparency. After revelations of Deben’s history of dubious business links, the Climate Change Committee tightened its declaration protocols. Despite this, Deben has yet to declare his Qatari connection to the committee, as he does on the Lords’ register, only mentioning his role for Sancroft broadly. It’s hardly a model for transparency. Guido wonders why an environmental adviser wouldn’t want to disclose fossil fuel funding…

mdi-timer 23 November 2022 @ 16:40 23 Nov 2022 @ 16:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer Caught Offside With Qatar Boycott

Once again Keir Starmer’s Labour party are saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Whilst Sir Keir has enforced a shadow cabinet boycott of the Qatar World Cup, citing human rights abuses against workers and LGBT people, his top team have accepted thousands of pounds in trips to similarly egregious destinations. Since 2016, they amount to around £60,000…

Amongst the worst offenders are Ed Miliband, who received a hamper worth £2,500 from the Sultan of Brunei – the absolute monarch of a country where sexual relations between men are punishable by death. Miliband says he gave it to charity…

Rosena Allin-Khan diversified her sources of ignoble freebies, raking in over £7,500 from Poland, Bangladesh, Jordan and Qatar. Jon Ashworth and Ian Murray have also each made trips to the World Cup host since 2016. Guido wonders what has changed in Qatar to relegate it from a favourite destination of the shadow cabinet between 2016 and 2021 to utterly unconscionable now…

For the interest of co-conspirators, a more comprehensive list of MP’s travel sponsors is as follows:

  • Angela Rayner: £7,500 (Pakistan)
  • Shabana Mahmood: £2,515 (China and Bangladesh)
  • Bridget Phillipson: £1,070 (Bangladesh)
  • Jonathan Ashworth: £9,050 (Qatar and Bangladesh)
  • Rosena Allin-Khan: £7,624 (Qatar, Poland, Bangladesh and Jordan)
  • Ed Miliband: £7,270 (China and donation from Brunei)
  • Steve Reed: £4,800 (Iraq and Bangladesh)
  • Wes Streeting: £3,042 (China)
  • Lucy Powell: £3,500 (UAE)
  • Preet Kaur Gill: £2,405 (Uganda)
  • Ian Murray: £7,603 (Qatar)
  • Peter Kyle: £2,677 (China)
  • Emily Thornberry: £960 (Bangladesh)

Perhaps the hypocrisy of Sir Keir’s virtue-signalling boycott is why he’s been unable to convince Mark Drakeford to follow suit…

mdi-timer 3 November 2022 @ 15:20 3 Nov 2022 @ 15:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
91 MPs Scramble for Qatar World Cup Freebie

The EGM vote for the Qatar APPG chairmanship – sparked following the death of Sir David Amess – turned into a Scotland vs Wales nail-biter, with former secretary of state Alun Cairns beating former secretary of state David Mundell by just one vote at 46-45. The tally took quite a long time to count up as many of the 91 MPs attempting to vote didn’t know how to update to the latest version of Zoom. Apparently leading to dozens of confused Members sending in their votes via frenzied WhatsApps and emails…

What’s surprising is just how many MPs actually showed up to the vote. Usually an APPG AGM would struggle to attract one to two dozen MPs – 91 turning up for the Qatar group’s is extraordinary. As one MP wryly observed, it’s almost as if there’s a World Cup in Qatar coming up this winter…

mdi-timer 4 January 2022 @ 16:45 4 Jan 2022 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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