Politician Paul O’Kane hopes “that more acts of solidarity will follow” after MSPs wore rainbow laces to show support for the LGBT+ community of Qatar during the 2022 World Cup. 

Mr O'Kane, who represents the West Scotland region and was previously an East Renfrewshire councillor for a decade, had been approached by Stonewall Scotland to distribute the laces and amplify their Proud Stadium Campaign.

The campaign is a virtual collection of people’s signatures, which the charity hopes will reach 80,000 - the same number of seats in the Qatar stadium that will host the world cup final on Sunday, December 18.

Laces were distributed to and worn by MSPs from across the political spectrum.

The Scottish Labour MSP told the Barrhead News: “The point of wearing these laces, particularly on the day of the England v Wales game, was about making an act of solidarity with LGBT+ community and sending a message to football organisations, ambassadors, tv and pundits political leaders that we as MSPs stand with the people who belong to a persecuted community.

“My hope is that more of these gestures will follow and that they all, no matter how big or small, apply pressure on everyone associated with 2022 World Cup in Qatar to reflect on their decision to go and at the very least become more aware of the appalling treatment of LGBT+ people in Qatar.

“I’m delighted that so many MSPs participated and of course it speaks volumes about the support for tolerance and equality in the Scottish Parliament and that’s why it’s vital that those who benefit from those societal values take a stand for those who do not.”