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Manchester MP ‘breaks Boris Johnson’ after grilling PM on passport wait times

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 9th June 2022

Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Gorton in Greater Manchester, says he ‘may have broken Boris Johnson’ after grilling the PM on passport waiting times.

During yesterday’s PMQs, the Prime Minster was seen grimacing as Mr Khan addressed him over the the long turnaround times for passports.

The politician said that he had also received a late-night ‘angry letter’ from Home Secretary Priti Patel, accusing him of ‘scaremongering’.

Travellers are currently being advised to allow up to 10 weeks for new passports to be processed, owing to a surge in demand for international travel after the pandemic.

Labour MP for Gorton, Afzal Khan, discussing passport wait times at PMQs. Credit: Parliament TV

The Passport Office has insisted that there is ‘no backlog in passport processing’ but that there has been an ‘unprecedented demand’ for British passports now that travel restrictions have been lifted.


Mr Khan began his address to the House of Commons by saying: “Mr Speaker, I’d have more sympathy for the words ‘Get on with the job’ if it had actually started in the first place,” a statement that was greeted with laughter.

He then said: “Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister told the House: ‘To the best of my knowledge, everybody is getting their passport within four to six weeks.’


“However, the passport office is currently quoting a 10 week service time, with many of my constituents waiting well over that period.

Read more: Travel advice issued as Manchester prepares for busiest weekend of the year

“Cancelled summer trips could cost families over £1bn. Does the PM accept that the passport office backlog is placing additional pressure on families already struggling with the cost of living crisis?”


Mr Johnson insisted that 91% of people are receiving their passports within six weeks, and that hundreds more staff are helping the Passport Office to catch up with demand.

He added that the huge demand is a sign of ‘the robustness of the economy’.

Labour MP for Gorton Afzal Khan at PMQs. Credit: Parliament TV

Sharing a clip of their exchange in the Commons, the Gorton MP said: “I think I may have broken @BorisJohnson.”

He later posted: “I clearly cut too close to the bone with my question on passport delays yesterday because at half past ten last night @pritipatel sent me an angry letter accusing me of scaremongering ¯_(ツ)_/¯”

The Passport Office advises: “We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible to ensure their passport arrives in time for the peak summer season. We do offer urgent services for applicants who need a passport more quickly. However, in busy periods these are booked quickly.


“Customers can also help to ensure there are no delays with their application, such as using a high quality photo with a digital code, applying online and applying for a new passport more than 10 weeks before they are due to travel.

“And it is important to stress, you should not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same passport number as your old one.”

Featured image: Parliament TV