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

My right hon. Friend makes an extremely important point—he may as well have read the next line of my speech. The cost of alcohol and the cost of accommodation really matter and will be a concern for the many people who will travel. The more information that can be provided, the more people will be able to plan, budget and recognise how long they can stay based on the relevant costs. He underlines his regret that Scotland will not be there, but I am confident that, when it comes to the home nations, all Scottish supporters will be supporting Wales at the World cup.

Policing is also relevant, particularly for public displays of affection, which I recognise are not part of the local culture. However, managing that will be a challenge, and it builds on the sensitivities I touched on earlier. It is worth underlining that managing the challenge is of particular concern to the LGBTQ+ community, as my right hon. Friend mentioned earlier. I believe that how delicate situations are policed needs considerable thought, experience and expertise.

The all-party parliamentary group was reassured by the Secretary-General at our meeting in March. He said that everyone was welcome and that it was their responsibility—meaning that of the authorities—to ensure that everyone feels safe. Any information on how that will be achieved will be welcome. From conversations with the ambassador and other officials, I am grateful for their reassurances. However, I underline that policing support will be provided from a number of nations. That is entirely normal for large-scale tournaments, but communicating the strategic aims and wishes to officers on the ground will also be relevant. If an officer on the ground comes from a different culture but has not fully understood the strategic decisions taken to be sensitive and supportive and manage the issues around alcohol, mental health challenges and the real concerns of the LGBTQ+ community, the response will take a lot of skilled action. It would be helpful to know if the UK has provided any support and intelligence to help Qatar achieve the great success that it wants.

From the start, Qatar has opened up its plans to so many nations, and the UK has played a significant part in that planning, from architecture to supporting policing, counter-terrorism and construction. We all want to see this being a great success and not only on the pitch, as I am sure it will be when highlighting the potential of an England-Wales final. This really matters to the region and the best influence it can have there is to celebrate different cultures, recognise diversity and move understanding in all quarters in a positive direction.