A freedom of information request (FOI) by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has revealed that the visit by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to Qatar during the World Cup is projected to cost the taxpayers £13,007.

The Party, which repeatedly called on Labour to cancel the trip over human rights concerns, has stated that the trip was not only inappropriate given the country’s record on human rights, but also an unnecessary use of public money during the cost of- iving crisis.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have now called on the Welsh Labour Party to donate £13,000 of its own funds to human rights charities addressing the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people, women and foreign workers in Qatar.

A separate Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Liberal Democrats also shows that the Welsh Government office in Qatar has never been used to promote human rights in the country.

This is despite in a previous reply to Welsh Liberal Democrat calls to close the office, the Welsh Government stating: “We believe in engaging with countries that do not always share our values on human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, workers’ rights and political and religious freedom. Engaging with countries is an opportunity to develop a platform for further discussion, to raise awareness, and to potentially influence a change in approach.”

The FOI response shows that despite the above statement, the Welsh Government’s presence in Qatar has not been used to “further discussion” nor “potentially influence a change” beyond holding a single online event on International Women’s Day in 2021.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “What these freedom of information requests show is what we long suspected, human rights have taken a backseat in the Welsh Government’s priorities during its engagements with Qatar in favour of investment deals.

“There is also a question over whether spending £13,000 of taxpayers’ money on a trip for two Ministers to Qatar is good value for money, especially in a cost-of-living crisis.

“In order to make up for helping to legitimise a tournament built on human rights abuses, I am now calling on the Welsh Labour Party to donate £13,000 of their own party funds to human rights charities that address the various issues faced in Qatar.

“I am also reiterating my party’s calls that the Welsh Government office in Qatar should be shut. If it is unable to promote human rights, including LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of workers, alongside other values of our country, then it shouldn’t be open.”