HM Passport Office Backlogs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 12th May 2022.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 9:33 am, 12th May 2022

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting in for this urgent question today and for the way that he approached his contribution.

I again thank HMPO staff for the tireless work that they are doing to issue passports as quickly as possible for people who have made those applications; in saying that, I am sure the whole House joins me. I can also confirm for the House’s benefit that the service I referred to in Portcullis House is now live and available for colleagues to access to get help with these matters. Of course, it is also worth pointing out that the Minister for safe and legal migration—the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend Kevin Foster—issued a “Dear colleague” letter yesterday that provided further detail on this issue.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned specifics in relation to contracts. Of course, what I must not do is get into contract-related deliberations on the Floor of the House today, but it is of course right to say that, where performance issues arise, candid conversations are had about performance and what interventions are required to improve performance, where necessary. I again reiterate for the House’s benefit that the key reality is that, between March and April 2022, Her Majesty’s Passport Office completed the processing of nearly 2 million applications. The vast majority of passport applications continue to be processed well within 10 weeks, with over 90% of applications issued within six weeks between January and March 2022. Less than 1.4% of the passports printed last week for UK applications had been in the system for longer than 10 weeks. Those are the facts. He asked for the facts. Those facts have been provided.

There is of course an expedited service available for individuals where passports have been in the system for more than 10 weeks, and I would certainly encourage people to avail themselves of that service if that is the situation they find themselves in. Of course, if there are Members of this House who have specific cases they wish to share with Ministers, we will happily take those away and look at them if colleagues make contact.