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Gove Leaves 11-yr-old In Hotel

Sunday Mirror Newspaper - December 2016

Michael Gove's young son was left alone in a room at a posh B&B for six hours while his parents enjoyed a glitzy celebrity party.
 
The ex-Cabinet minister and his wife Sarah Vine told hotel workers they would be back by around 9.30pm.
 
But the couple are said to have failed to answer calls from a concerned night porter who found the 11-year-old wandering the corridors, asking where his parents were.
 
The Goves are believed to have returned to the £250-a-night, 13-bedroom B&B at 1.30am the next morning – four hours later than they said they would be.
 
TV comic Dom Joly – among stars at the party thrown to celebrate the end of the Cheltenham Literary Festival – took to Twitter to reveal how the former Justice Secretary had enjoyed the evening.
 
This morning, Rachel Johnson - Boris Johnson's sister - admitted she was at the same party, and danced to Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines with the former education secretary.But she insisted Mr Gove had only left his son alone to look after his two dogs.
 
He tweeted: “Amazing party at @131TheProm celebrating end of Chelt Lit Fest – only slightly ruined by the sight of the loathsome Michael Gove dancing.”
And comedy writer Armando Iannucci, creator of political comedy The Thick Of It, is understood to have given a talk at the festival the following day in which he said he had seen Michael Gove “busting moves” on the dance floor.
 
Government-approved guidelines state that under-12s should not be left alone for a long period of time as they are “rarely mature enough”.
 
The incident took place as the 48-year-old former Education Secretary, Justice Minister, Lord Chancellor and Chief Whip appears to be attempting a political comeback. The MP for Surrey Heath, who stood in the Tory Party ­leadership contest, was one of the leaders of the campaign to leave Europe.
 
He has just won a seat on Westminster’s new Brexit Committee and is being tipped for a return to the front benches as a future member of Theresa May’s Government.
 
He booked into the exclusive No.38 The Park in Cheltenham, on the edge of the Cotswolds, with his wife and son on October 14. The B&B features bedrooms individually designed by owner and designer Georgie Pearman.
 
Its website describes it as an elegant Cheltenham townhouse perfect for a weekend getaway or as a bespoke private house party.
 
THE NEXT EVENING ON OCTOBER 15, THE GOVES BUTTONHOLED A MEMBER OF STAFF.
 
Our source said: “At between 6pm and 7pm on the night they went out, Mr Gove approached a worker at the hotel and asked him if they provided evening meals as his son was staying in their room. He was told it did not. It only provides a breakfast service, but that he could order a takeaway for him and the hotel operates an honesty bar so his son could get himself drinks.
 
"MR GOVE AND HIS WIFE LEFT THE HOTEL SHORTLY AFTERWARDS AND TOLD THE WORKER THEY WERE GOING OUT FOR A SHORT TIME.
 
“When pressed, they said they would be back at around 9pm or 9.30pm.
 
“Later in the evening, the night porter saw their son wandering around the hotel. When he spoke to him, the boy was asking where his parents were and when they would be back.
 
“After around an hour, Mr Gove and his wife had still not returned and the night porter became concerned, so he began phoning them. But the calls were either not answered or clicked off.
 
“They eventually arrived back at the hotel at 1.30am – six hours after going out to their party.”
 
The glamorous bash was held around a mile from the B&B at its sister hotel No.131, a Grade II-listed 18th Century Georgian villa overlooking ­Cheltenham’s Imperial Gardens.
 
The law does not specify an age when parents can leave a child on their own, but it is an offence if it places them at risk. They can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised “in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.
 
A Government website quotes guidelines from the The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) which say “children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time”.
 
Their guidance adds “children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight and babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone”.
 
Yesterday NSPCC chief Peter Wanless said: “It can be a difficult decision to decide when children are old enough to be left alone. Parents need to consider whether a child would know what to do if something went wrong.”
 
Mr Gove’s Daily Mail writer wife Sarah Vine, nicknamed “Sarah Vain” by satirical magazine Private Eye, has spoken about leaving her children on their own in her confessional-style columns.
 
In November 2014, Ms Vine who also has a 13-year-old girl, wrote: “On Sunday, with my husband out at Remembrance services and my youngest expected at a football match several miles away, I faced a common parental dilemma.
 
 “Our daughter was still in her pyjamas. She begged to be allowed to stay at home. Alone. I hesitated. I’ve never left her on her own before, bar my occasional trips to the corner shop. As a mother, it’s very hard to judge when your child is ready to step up a rung on the personal responsibility ladder. But she’s 11 now. It was 9.30am on a Sunday morning. What could possibly go wrong?”
 
She went on to reveal her daughter went to the corner shop only to burst into tears because she had locked herself out – luckily remembering there was a hidden key.
 
Ms Vine, 49, went on to say she herself had been “left alone with my younger brother from about eight”. She added: “Nowadays, some busybody would have probably reported us.”
 
She later wrote about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, saying the three-year-old’s parents “were only trying to do what countless loving but exhausted mothers and fathers of small children have done throughout the decades: have a well-earned break with their friends.”
 
But she added: “As the McCanns know, you can be the most loving and most well-intentioned of parents. But life is a risk you can’t avoid.”
 
A source close to the Goves said they didn’t understand what the fuss was about and felt their son had been perfectly safe.
 
And a spokesman for the family said last night: “Michael and Sarah’s son is a mature and confident secondary school pupil. He preferred to watch TV rather than go out to dinner. He was perfectly fine and staff at the 13-room hotel were happy to supervise.”
 
The spokesman said the couple had no mobile reception in the basement bar where the event was held.
 
But he added: “The hotel where Michael, Sarah and their son were staying would know how to get in touch with them if anything distressing had occurred.”