FOREIGN Secretary James Cleverly has confirmed he will attend the World Cup in Qatar – as he defended telling gay fans to be “respectful”.
The top Tory said it was his job to keep travelling Brits “safe” after criticism over his advice for homosexuals going to the tournament.
Same-sex activity is punishable by up to seven years in the Middle East Nation, prompting many supporters to boycott the competition.
Labour MP Chris Bryant accused Mr Cleverly of giving gay fans a “slap in the face”.
The Foreign Secretary shot back: “I’ve visited Qatar in the lead-up to the World Cup and when I go to the World Cup I will be speaking to the security authorities to ensure that English and Welsh and whatever other British fans who are going to the World Cup remain safe.”
But asked if he would encourage gay fans to protest in the country, he said: “No I wouldn’t.
“When British nationals travel overseas they should respect the laws of their host country.”
He doubled down on his comments urging fans to be “respectful of the host nation”, adding: “I want them to be safe.
“Genuinely my question is, for those gay fans who want to go watch the football, what advice realistically should I give other than the advice I believe will keep them safe.”
He added: “We’re very proud that we champion gay rights around the world”.