24 March 2020

Michael Gove forced to apologise after giving separated parents wrong advice about seeing children

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has been forced to apologise after giving incorrect advice to separated parents surrounding their children's travel between homes.

Many were concerned that due to the new lockdown rules, children whose parents were separated would only be able to see one of them.

The Government has said such movement is permissible, confirming on Monday: “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes”

However, on ITV's Good Morning Britain Gove gave out different advice.

He told presenter Susanna Reid: "Children should stay in the household they are currently in, we should not have children moving between households.

"I know this is incredibly difficult, this is a time of - an emotionally fraught time and a difficult one. Wherever possible, if there can be contact through social media or non-physical contact then that should carry on."

The conflicting advice caught the attention of fellow GMB presenter Piers Morgan who tweeted after the interview: "We need urgent clarity from the Govt. about Michael Gove’s announcement on GMB re children moving between separated parents’ homes as it directly contradicts current Govt. advice post-speech last night."

Gove then retweeted Morgan's tweet and wrote: "To confirm - while children should not normally be moving between households, we recognise that this may be necessary when children who are under 18 move between separated parents.

"This is permissible and has been made clear in the guidance."

Gove then also reiterated the position in a BBC interview.

He said: “On another broadcast on Good Morning Britain, I was asked specifically about divorced or separated parents and whether or not children could move from one household to another.

“One of the things that is clear is that if it is the case that children are under the age of 18 need to move from one parent’s home to another parent’s home, that is allowed.

“Within the context of all us seeking to reduce social contact, that is allowed. I was not clear earlier on that broadcast.”

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