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 Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee 9:33 am, 12th May 2022

You might remember, Mr Speaker, that I raised the issue of delays with passports at business questions back in April. The Leader of the House expressed some surprise that I was getting upset about it back then, but I can honestly say to the Minister that the position since then has become much, much worse. He cannot really say that we did not know this was coming, because we were telling Ministers about it some weeks ago.

We have dealt with many dozens of cases from my office, but we still have about 14 cases that have not yet been expedited. The Passport Office advised that applications that are older than 10 weeks—of which we have several—and where travel is due to take place in the next two weeks can be expedited. In order to exercise that, applicants are advised to contact the passport advice line. However, as many Members have said this morning, constituents are doing that but they cannot get through, and when they do, they wait an inordinate amount of time and are then being cut off. It is just not good enough. British citizens cannot actually get their passport—even though it might be printed in Poland these days—to travel abroad.

Many constituents are reporting that they cannot get through and, at the time of the application, constituents were advised on the not appropriately updated website that the turnaround time would be five weeks—so the website was wrong at the time that people were applying. The Minister has to get a grip on this. When will the—