Passport Office delays: Stephen speaks out after calls from constituents desperate for help

Over the last few weeks, I have received numerous requests for help from constituents or their families affected by the serious delays at the Passport Office.

Some of these people, having made their applications in good time according to the Home Office’s own advice on timescales, have been waiting desperately for their passport to arrive in time to travel on family holidays or for work.

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I know other MPs across the country have heard similar stories – with some people only receiving their passport at the airport on the day of travel; and others having to cancel long-made travel plans with their families.

Others, who are ex-pats and are applying from abroad for renewals or for first passports for their children, have faced particularly serious problems. In one case I have been dealing with, the family have been facing daily fines as without their child’s passport they cannot register the birth and residency; in another, a family were facing the threat of deportation as without their child’s passport, they could not get the necessary visa to remain in the country. The way these sort of passport applications are dealt with has recently changed, and the impact has been extreme.

The incredible stress and distress has left people desperate, and the lack of information and the inability to get answers from the Passport Office has made the wait even worse. I am glad I have been able to assist these people, and am receiving further requests for help daily.

Last week in the House of Commons, when the Home Secretary tried to defend the performance of the service, there were so many MPs raising similar cases from their own constituencies that the Speaker had to curtail the debate – else it would have lasted many hours.

Another debate took place today (Wednesday), when my colleagues and I kept up the pressure.

The truth is that the Government has been in total denial about the chaos they have created over the passport backlog. Only at the eleventh hour did they acknowledge that the backlog exists and while new measures have now been put in place to attempt to alleviate some of the problems, many questions still remain.

And of course it all comes too late for those people whose holidays have been ruined, or who have faced serious problems abroad.

* If you are experiencing problems, I will try my best to assist. Contact my office on 02920 452072, or email me by clicking this link.



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