Home Office faces criticism from MPs over 'wholly unacceptable' passport control tweet

Home Office faces criticism from MPs over passport control tweet

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Home Office tweeted on Wednesday asking families with different surnames to bring birth or adoption certificates when threy travel.

“Families with different surnames may be asked questions to establish their relationship.

“If your family has different surnames, please bring birth or adoption certificates to help get through passport control quicker.”

Acceptable documents to bring to passport control include a birth or adoption certificate, divorce or marriage certificates or a letter from the child’s parent or social worker giving their permission for the child to travel.


‘We could not punish women for keeping their own names’

The tweet received criticism from numerous politicians including Labour MP Stella Creasy and Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams MP.

The Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy retweeted the Home Office saying: “Or we could not live in Gilead and punish women for keeping their own names.”

Gilead refers to the authoritarian Republic of Gilead in novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which has replaced what was once the United States of America.


‘Wholly unacceptable’

The Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon called the Home Office’s request “wholly unacceptable”.

“Having different surnames is not some bureaucratic problem.

“My wife is Davies- she's not an add-on to me. My children are Hywel - a pattern becoming more common in Wales as we shed practices enforced on our culture during industrialization.”

Following the criticism of the tweet, the Home Office followed it up with a statement on Twitter.

“We have a duty to safeguard children and to prevent people trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other crimes committed against children.

“That is why Border Force staff need to be content that the adult travelling with the child has parental responsibility or parental authority has been given to travel with the child.

“We aim to do this quickly and with as minimal disruption to passengers as possible.

“Having birth or adoption certificates available when travelling through the border can help speed up this process.”