Passport Office ‘chaos’ has left people missing key family events, MPs warned

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The Home Office faced demands to reveal when the backlog will be cleared and to offer compensation to people who do not have their passports sorted within 10 weeks. Home Office Minister Tom Pursglove said the 10-week target was “not guaranteed” but insisted 700 extra staff will be recruited “by the summer” to help.

The Government expects 9.5 million British passport applications to be dealt with in 2022, compared to four million in 2020 and five million in 2021.

But Labour Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith, who asked the urgent question, said: “A constituent told me yesterday, ‘It is terrible. We are due to fly out on Sunday but are still unable to get our youngest son’s passport. Every time I phone I get passed to a different department, then hold, then the phone line goes dead’.

“Another told me, ‘I have called 40 times in the past week, they cut me off every time. I don’t know what to do and I am breaking down at this point’.”

Shadow Home Office Minister Stephen Kinnock added: “The chaos at the Passport Office reflects the wider failures of our Home Office, which is simply not fit for purpose under this Home Secretary.”

Tory Redcar MP Jacob Young told of one of his casework team “who spent nine hours on the phone to the Passport Office last week” and “didn’t manage to get through all day”.

Mr Pursglove encouraged MPs to raise any particular cases with the department.

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