Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove is under fire for reportedly leaving his young son at a bed and breakfast while he and his wife went to a party.
The 11-year-old is said to have preferred to stay in and watch TV rather than go to the function where his father was later spotted on the dance floor.
Government guidelines advise that children under 12 are not left alone for a long period of time and if they are harmed in their absence parents can be prosecuted, however the "mature" boy was left under supervision by staff.
Mr Gove, the former education secretary and chief whip, notoriously launched a failed bid to lead the Tory party in the wake of the referendum that saw him betray his Brexit ally, Boris Johnson.
After keeping a low profile since the debacle the MP, 48, stepped out with journalist wife Sarah Vine to attend the event celebrating the end of the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
A spokesman for the family said:
"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 hotel where Michael, Sarah and their son were staying would know how to get in touch with them if anything distressing had occurred."
The question is, would you do the same?
Would you be happy leaving your 11 year old with hotel staff? Is it any worse than having a baby sitter?
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The education Secretary Michael Gove will be at Brighton College in Sussex later to give the keynote speech at a conference about schooling.
Parents opposed to plans to transform the nearby Hove Park secondary into an academy have said they'll protest outside the event.
Video. A leading head teacher, who has embraced many of the government's new education policies, is criticising the Education Secretary over last minute changes to rules over GCSE exams.
Simon Spiers, of King Alfred's Academy at Wantage in Oxfordshire, has written a scathing letter to Michael Gove. He says the changes will cause chaos and affect his school's results - and has hit back at claims that schools are "gaming" the exam system.
But the government says the changes are in the best interests of students.
Christine Alsford has this exclusive report.
The full letter which head teacher Simon Spiers sent to Michael Gove.Read the full story ›
Ten more free schools won government approval to launch in the region today. They will open in 2014.Read the full story ›
The Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove told Daybreak that UKIP's success in the Eastleigh by-election is purely down to "protest."
He said: "People from Lib Democrat ranks and Conservative, were voting UKIP because they wanted to register a sense of pain and frustration at a difficult time for the country."
In some counties, the percentage of academies is more than 50 per cent. How does this affect schools still run by local authorities?Read the full story ›
Our education correspondent Christine Alsford looks at the details behind the rise in the number of academies.Read the full story ›
Education Secretary Michael Gove has criticised school standards in East Sussex and says more there need to be turned into academies. But East Sussex County Council says his comments are unfounded and have challenged him to meet them face-to-face. The local authority's statement is below.
“We continue to be puzzled by this inaccurate criticism of our attitude to academy status and are surprised the Secretary of State continues to make it. We would welcome the opportunity to give Mr Gove an up-to-date briefing in person so that he can understand the position in East Sussexbetter. Almost half of our secondary schools (11 out of 26) are now academies, and we are co-sponsors of three secondary academies in Hastings and Eastbourne.
Also, last year, together with the Department for Education, we brokered sponsors for four primary academies. In addition to this we have been in close dialogue with Govt officials, and a number of potential sponsors, about a number of under-performing schools and academy status. So it is simply not accurate for the Govt to suggest we are resistant to schools becoming academies.”
The Education Secretary Michael Gove spoke exclusively to our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford about academies. The Government's academy programme initially targeted successful schools - but now those failing to meet government targets are often becoming academies too.