Home News Boris Johnson gets his own coronavirus rules wrong on parental visits

Boris Johnson gets his own coronavirus rules wrong on parental visits

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Boris Johnson's confused face appears alongside a screenshot of a young father wearing square glasses and a light blue shirt
This isn’t the first time the prime minister has got coronavirus rules wrong (Picture: PA)

Boris Johnson appeared to get his own Government’s coronavirus rules wrong again when he suggested separated parents may not be able to see their children in high-risk areas on Friday.

The prime minister was questioned at a Downing street briefing by Chris Eldridge, 32, from Margate, Kent, on whether he would be able to visit his six-year-old son in Essex if either area is placed in a higher tier.

Mr Johnson advised the dad to check the Government website, adding that ‘there may be restrictions’ preventing his visits – despite Government guidelines including exemptions for children who live apart from their parents in all three of the new lockdown tiers.

The Tory leader told the worried father: ‘You should go on the website, obviously, and check, but when places go into a higher tier from the basic medium, then there are restrictions on household contact, alas.

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‘So, depending on how you define your household, you may find there are restrictions.’

A briefing paper published by the House of Commons on October 15 states: ‘Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.’ These rules were introduced at the peak of the pandemic in March.

It isn’t the first time the prime minister has stumbled over his own Government’s rules, with the Tory leader apologising in September after issuing the wrong advice about restrictions in the north-east.

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A white man with slight stubble, square glasses and a light-blue shirt looks at the camera
Christopher Eldridge, 32, asked Boris Johnson whether he would be able to visit his son in Essex (Picture: @10DowningStreet/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). PA Photo. Picture date: Friday October 16, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London (Picture: PA)

Mr Eldridge said he was left ‘shouting at the television’ when the prime minister advised him to check the rules on the Government’s website.

He said: ‘I felt he was just pushing it by the wayside, by saying to go on the website.

‘I was on the website, I had to go on the website to submit my question. Obviously, I had gone to the website to try and find the answer to my situation.

‘Considering all the steps you go through to submit a question, it would have been a lot easier, a lot quicker, to get my answer if I were to find it on their website.

‘Initially I didn’t pick up on the fact he said there might be restrictions. Five minutes later I got forwarded an article that actually gave me the answer I was looking for.

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‘I just wanted to try and find an answer to my situation before I actually go and pick my son up and potentially get in trouble for doing so.’

Mr Eldridge did not see his son for seven weeks at the peak of the pandemic as he feared putting his child at risk.

He said: ‘It was hard going from seeing him every weekend, but fortunately with a bit of technology I could still speak to him, but that’s not the same thing.’

The dad said he was left disappointed by the Government’s unhelpful response, stating: ‘I understand that the Government aren’t going to be able to provide an answer to everybody’s situation, but you can see that my situation is going to be the sort of thing that’s troubling quite a few people.’

‘It felt like he discarded the question as nonsense and moved on to the next one.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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