FIFA World Cup 2022

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:00 pm on 20th October 2022.

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Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns Conservative, Vale of Glamorgan 3:00 pm, 20th October 2022

I pay tribute to the hon. Lady for raising those questions, which I know she has raised with the Qatari authorities, among others. It is also fair to say that the UK’s approach to and understanding of mental health has progressed significantly in recent times. I remember from a debate in the main Chamber that there was once an old rule whereby any parliamentary colleague with a mental health challenge was effectively debarred from contributing to debates. That highlights how the UK has progressed in our time—although that rule could theoretically still exist in statute.

As we have already said, given our different cultures, there will be different pressures on different travelling fans, and perhaps, if a team is knocked out earlier than expected, on different supporting groups. That may well be a challenge, but I do not mean to be flippant about the serious issues raised by the hon. Lady. Her points go along with the delicate balance in managing a difficult situation—be it because of alcohol consumption or personal challenges—and how best to share our experience, learn from the experiences of others, and ensure that those sorts of issues do not become dominant because of a lack of understanding by those running events. She is ahead of the curve by highlighting the importance of mental health support.