Gary Neville has clashed with Tory MP Lee Anderson after comparing the conditions for migrant workers in Qatar with those of striking UK workers.
The pundit and former England footballer was appearing on ITV’s coverage of the World Cup final on Sunday (December 18) when he launched the rant.
Qatar previously vehemently denied accusations of thousands of unexplained deaths among its large migrant worker community, although a leading Qatari official did admit that hundreds died building the 2022 World Cup stadiums ahead of the tournament.
“We should detest low pay, we should detest poor accommodation and working conditions,” he said. “We can never accept that in this region or any other region – and it is just worth mentioning we've got a government in our country that are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and terrifyingly nurses.
“We can't have people being paid an absolute pittance to work, we can't have people in accommodation that is unsavoury and disgusting.”
Neville clashed with the Tory MP after coverage of Sunday's finalGetty images/Parliament TV
He added: “It shouldn't happen here [in Qatar] ... with the wealth that exists. But it shouldn't happen with the nurses in our country either where our nurses are having to fight for an extra pound or two pounds.”
Anderson was one of the political figures to reply to the comments on Twitter, writing: “Another party political broadcast by a millionaire. Looks like ITV is on my banned list now. Talk about football Gary and keep your nose out of politics. You don't know what you're talking about.”
Neville, who is a member of the Labour party, then replied: “I’m glad you’re p***ed off! The biggest set of charlatans to ever be in power!”
\u201c@LeeAndersonMP_ I\u2019m glad you\u2019re pissed off! The biggest set of charlatans to ever be in power!\u201d
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith also claimed that ITV should have stopped broadcasting Neville’s rant, saying: “People have been killed on building sites and things all over Qatar and paid a pittance, and he compares that to the UK? It's unbelievable.
“To compare a country that demonises gay rights, executes and brings in migrant workers by the truckload and pays them a pittance to a democratic country that has the concept of human rights, rule of law and all that goes with it – he's abused his position.”
Tory MP Mr Clarke also tweeted: “It is beyond ridiculous that he is given free rein by ITV Sport to overtly politicise a major sporting event. Quite apart from the fact every nurse is receiving a pay rise of £1,400, to compare workers' rights in Qatar with the UK is grotesque.”
Neville wasn’t the only ITV pundit to speak out against the host nation Qatar and its record on human rights.
Keane said before the game: "For human rights, this World Cup is stained, that’s the bottom line.
“The football’s been great, but the football was always going to be great because you’ve got world-class players, but it is stained.
He added: “You've got a country and the way they treat migrant workers, gay people. We're on about spreading the game but dismissing human rights, it's not right. It shouldn't be here."
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