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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

MPs urged to boycott Qatar opposition conference by mysterious PR company

The letter sent to British parliamentarians comes from a firm with no proper contact details and a building site for an office

Qatari political activist in exile Khalid Al Hail is organising a one-day conference in London to give voice to Qataris who want a chance of direction
Qatari political activist in exile Khalid Al Hail is organising a one-day conference in London to give voice to Qataris who want a chance of direction

All 650 UK MPs have been urged not to attend a conference of the Qatari opposition due to be launched in London next week in a letter circulated by a mysterious company with a non-existent office address.

The Qatar, Global Security & Stability conference is being organised by dissident Khalid Al Hail as a rallying point for exiles opposed to the radical policies of the current leadership.

Attempts to ensure no serving British politician grants support for the conference emerged this week. A letter sent to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and copied to all MPs called for Daniel Kawczynski, who has backed the conference, to be censured by the parliamentary authorities.

According to the blogger Brian Whitaker, who writes the blog al-Bab, the company behind the letter, London Centre for Public Affairs (LCPA) appears to be a fake.

Mr Whitaker points out the telephone number in the letter does not work. Two pictured staff members of the firm appeared to be photographs of people who gave testimonials about a lawyer in Iowa, USA.

There is no trace of the firm in the register of British companies.

A search for the firm on the three known registers of lobbyists or public relations professionals in London drew a blank.

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Read more:

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The office address mentioned is a building site in central London.

Nicholas Dunn-McAfee, head of Public Affairs, Policy, and Research at the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), said LCPA was not registered with on its list.

“We really should ask who are you and what do you represent in this case,” he said. “You hope that MPs give some thought to what’s going on here.”

Dunn-McAfee said the PRCA could send a cease and desist letter to the outfit.

The letter came to public attention when it was tweeted by Andreas Kreig, a London and Doha-based assistant professor at King’s College.

A member of Kawcyznski’s parliamentary staff said the LPCA had refused to disclose the identity of the client who had commissioned the letter.