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Family's holiday cancelled after passport fiasco
A HAMPSHIRE family say they were forced to cancel their 15-month-old son’s first holiday due to the ongoing passport fiasco.
Dominic Sayers applied for his son Fraser’s first passport a month before they were booked to travel to France.
But despite repeated calls and the intervention of the Sayers’ MP, young Fraser’s passport did not arrive in time.
The Sayers’, from Abbotswood, Romsey, are just one of thousands of families affected by the backlog at Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) in recent weeks.
Home Secretary Theresa May has apologised to people who have seen holidays and business trips ruined by the delays, which she said was due to the highest demand for passports for 12 years.
Mr Sayers, a 37-year-old car sales specialist, says he applied for a passport for Fraser using the Post Office’s check and send service in mid-May.
Despite getting confirmation HMPO had received the passport, the family did not hear anything for weeks.
Getting steadily more worried in the build-up to their trip to the Loire on June 14, Mr Sayers made repeated calls to HMPO, only to be told the order was still being “processed”.
Eventually, days before the holiday and after a HMPO member of staff had hung up on him, he turned to the family’s constituency MP, Caroline Nokes.
He said: “I kept getting told there were checks involved, like terrorism checks. But he’s a 15-month-old – he’s not going to pose a threat to the country’s security.
“It just seemed to me that the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.”
Soon after Ms Nokes’ intervention their passport was ready, but it arrived too late.
Mr Sayers continued: “It’s infuriating and disappointing, although Caroline Nokes did a fantastic job.
“Luckily we have rescheduled but it’s cost us hundreds of pounds as we’ve had to book everything again.”
A spokesman for HMPO said: “It is not unusual during peak periods for HMPO to operate with high numbers of applications in the system at any one time, with this year seeing the highest levels for 12 years.”
Ms Nokes said: “I can see why the family were getting so frustrated as they weren’t able to get through to anyone at the passport office.
“When somebody misses their holiday you do feel for them, they have been able to reschedule so it’s not the end of the world, but you have to feel for people because a family holiday is a big thing in people’s lives.”
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