Michael Gove: "I'm going on holiday to Evia, I'm not worried about the fires," says British housing minister

Michael Gove

Trust in the Greek authorities for managing the fires was expressed by the Minister of Housing of the British government, Michael Gove, who, as he told Sky News, plans to come on vacation to Greece, specifically to Evia, in the coming weeks.

Gove was speaking amid continued scrutiny of the Foreign Office’s categorisation of the wildfire-stricken island and pressure for it to change to enable tourists to get a refund for their trips through their travel insurance.

Flights have been taking back some of the 10,000 British tourists stranded on the island, where wildfires have been burning out of control in its mountainous interior and threatening some resorts.

“We do need to support the Greek government in dealing with the situation in Rhodes. My heart goes out to those who are affected. But I think the advice is clear. If you follow the Foreign Office advice, it is safe,” said Gove.

The minister, who said he believed travel companies had behaved responsibly, told Times Radio: “I think it is the case that … the fires have been restricted to one part of the island.”

Gove said he was planning to holiday on the Greek island of Evia next week, telling Sky News: “In fact, I’m due to go on holiday, God willing, to Greece in just over a week’s time, not to Rhodes but to another island and I’m looking forward to going.”

The island has been among parts of Greece where wildfires have broken out.

Of the dozens of wildfires that broke out across the country at the weekend, one of the most serious was on Evia, where people living in four southern villages were told by authorities to evacuate to a town.

Pressure on the government has continued from Labour MPs and the Liberal Democrats, who said on Monday that Rhodes should be added to the “red list” of places to which the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel.

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