Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell lashes out at British minister after protest in Qatar

The Qatar government communications agency said Tatchell was not arrested or detained and that he was simply told to proceed “in a cordial and professional manner”.

“Rumors on social media that a representative of the Peter Tatchell Foundation has been arrested in Qatar are completely false and unfounded,” the statement said.

James Cleverly said attending the FIFA World Cup is “real work”.Credit:Getty

Asked on London radio LBC if he had raised Tatchell’s case with the Qatari government, Cleverly said he hadn’t and that it wouldn’t stop him from attending the tournament.

“One of the things I would like to say to the football fans is please respect the host country,” Cleverly said.

“They’re trying to make sure people can be themselves and enjoy football and I think with a little flexibility and compromises on both sides, it could be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup.”

Labor’s Keir Starmer, an avid fan of the beautiful game and Arsenal supporter, refuses to attend the games on human rights grounds.

Slim said he expected to attend because it was “real work.”

“As the leader of the opposition, he is in a great position to send messages, I have real work to do,” he said.

Speaking from Sydney in the early hours of Thursday morning, Tatchell told the Herald and The age he was shocked by Cleverly’s comments.

“LGBT fans may not be safe,” he said.

Australian-born gay rights activist Peter Tatchell at Sydney airport after his one-man protest in Qatar.

Australian-born gay rights activist Peter Tatchell at Sydney airport after his one-man protest in Qatar.Credit:Twitter/@PeterTatchell

“It is appalling that Mr. Cleverly is urging fans to respect the host country instead of challenging them for their repression.

“Any fans or public figures going to the World Cup will be colluding with a homophobic, sexist and racist regime and Mr Cleverly should know better,” he said.

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British culture spokeswoman Lucy Powell said sport should be accessible to everyone.

“Many fans will feel that they cannot attend this tournament to cheer on their team because of Qatar’s track record of human, labor and LGBT+ rights,” she said.

“The government should challenge FIFA on how they put fans in this position and ensure the complete safety of all fans present, and not defend the discriminatory values.”

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