Parents furious after Home Office suggests families with different surnames carry birth certificates


THE Home Office has sparked a storm from parents after suggesting families with different surnames should travel with birth certificates.

Many parents have slammed the Home Office accusing them of discriminating against women who don’t share their partner’s surname.

Other furious parents called the policy “unacceptable”, “out of touch” and blasted the government department for taking the UK “back to the 1950’s”.

The Home Office sparked the row when they took to Twitter on Wednesday to offer travel advice.

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

They added: “We have a duty to safeguard children and to prevent people trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other crimes.

“That is why Border Force officers sometimes need to ask additional questions.”

Twitter post by the Home Office

However, scores of parents weighed in on the post to share their anger.

Fiona Senior wrote: “I have been married for over 30 years and never took my husband’s name.

“My family has travelled many times and no one has ever questioned if my children are my children.

“Why are you trying to take this country back to the 1950s?”

Katherine Mendelsohn added: “I am fundamentally against this.

“My husband and I have different surnames. And our son bears my husband’s.

“Not unusual for parents to have different surnames in the 21st Century.

“Appalling stuff by Sajid Javid and the Home Office.”

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams weighed in on the debate, writing: “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.”

Michael Windmill added: “Safeguarding children is crucial, but vilifying those who make a choice not to take each other’s name is not the answer.

“1.13m children have co-habiting, unmarried parents. An outmoded view of family is out of touch.”

Clare Maddox said: “So a passport alone is no longer a valid travel document for the kids of partners who aren’t married or people who didn’t take their husband’s surname? It’s 2018 ffs, get a grip.”

One Twitter user, known as Em said: “This is potentially discriminatory against women who don’t take their husbands names or families where the partners aren’t married. Think again.”

Another furious follower, Hattie, added: “And back to the patriarchy we go. Women do not belong to men.

“Therefore we are under no obligation to change our name should we choose to marry. Have you any idea how sexist this is?”

And one follower, named Pippa The Cat, asked: “Sorry, what century is this again?”

Many others pointed out that taking such important documents abroad is risky.

Cathy Hume commented: “Seriously? I am not taking my entire family’s birth certificates with me every time we go abroad.

“What exactly is it that you are trying to establish? Surely all that matters is that we have valid travel documents?”

Another concerned social media, wrote: “This is a great way to lose important documents while travelling. Brilliant advice from the same department who will probably try to deport people later on when they have lost, say, a marriage certificate abroad after following this advice.”

The Home Office also linked to a web page with advice for families travelling with different surnames.

It reads: “If you are travelling with children who have a different surname, you may be asked questions at the border to prove your relationship.

“You can help by bringing with you the following documents.

“A birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child.

“Divorce or marriage certificates if you’re the parent but have a different surname from the child.

“A letter from the child’s parent or social worker giving permission for the child to travel with you.”

A spokesman for the Home Office today (fri) said: “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 with you when you travel through the border can help speed up this process.”

Yesterday (THU) the Home Office came under fire for granting visas to men who took girls as young as 15 abroad and forced them to marry.

Figures revealed 88 women in forced marriages appealed to block visa applications last year, but almost half were still accepted by the Home Office.