Yates was summoned to a meeting of COBRA on Day Four of the 456 incident to discuss the 456's demands for 10% of the children on Earth. Yates was first asked for sixty children to be sacrificed as a compromise offer. When the 456 rejected it, Yates suggested alphabetical order for the random 10% from Britain. The idea was ridiculed by the Home Secretary Denise Riley, who suggested he favoured this idea because his surname was near the end of the alphabet. Yates said that he had no children.
When the 456 made their initial demand, a desperate Yates tried to advocate to Green that if they could spin the population loss "in the right way", it could be presented as a good thing that slowed down the population growth. He later jumped on the idea of blaming the 456 for the missing children as a cover story, willing to deflect all blame to the aliens, and was contemptuous of Lois Habiba speaking out. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Four, Children of Earth: Day Five)