May apologises over passport delay and vows to put it right

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HOME SECRETARY Theresa May has apologised for delays in processing passport applications and insisted the Government is doing all it can to deal with the situation.

She told the Commons: “Her Majesty’s passport office is dealing with the highest demand for passports for 12 years while the surge in demand usually experienced during the summer months started much earlier in the year.

“As a result, a number of people are waiting too long for their passport applications to be processed.

“I would like to say to anybody who is unable to travel because of a delay in processing their passport application that I am sorry and the Government is sorry for the inconvenience they have suffered and we are doing all we can to put things right.”

But Mrs May insisted: “Despite the unprecedented level of demand, the overwhelming majority of people making straightforward applications are still receiving their passports within three weeks as usual.

“Over the first five months of this year, HMPO has processed more than 97 per cent of straightforward passport renewals and child applications within the three-week target turnaround time.

The Home Secretary was speaking in an opposition day debate called by Labour, which saw many MPs jumping up from their seats to raise the plight of their constituents.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said: “We still don’t know when things will be back to normal, families still don’t know how long they can expect to wait.”

Labour’s Leeds East MP George Mudie called on the Government to review individual cases. He said: “They knew for five months they were running into trouble. Did they alert anyone to the fact they were running into trouble, the answer is no. The answer is they did not change the website and so people put in and were putting themselves in danger and their holidays in danger.”