§ 13. Mr. Dodds
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will ease the conditions attached to applications for a United Kingdom passport, in view of the growing popularity of holidays abroad and the difficulties resulting from the fact that an application must be authenticated and sponsored either by a Member of Parliament, justice of the peace, minister of religion, medical or legal practitioner, established civil servant, bank officer, public official, police officer or any person of similar standing who has been personally acquainted with the applicant for at least two years; and if he will give a list of those of similar standing whose signatures are acceptable to his Department.
§ Mr. R. Allan
Because of the need to establish the identity of an applicant for a passport, I am afraid there is no alternative to the present system of having the application countersigned by a responsible person. Persons of similar standing to those quoted on the form include any member of a professional body whose name can be checked in a published list, senior trade union officials, and personnel managers of large firms. Where a person is unable to obtain the countersignature of a qualified person, the Passport Office will always advise him as to the best course of action.
§ Mr. Dodds
I thank the hon. Member for these additional classifications, which may be helpful. Is he aware that the other day I had the case of two people who had moved to the south of England from the north of Scotland. They have been twenty months in their new district, but it says on the form that it could be serious far a recommender if he were to sign it for such persons. It might not be possible for a person who moves to get the sort of signature demanded. Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that if a criminal wants to obtain a passport he will be able to do so? I am dealing with humble people who want a holiday and who are finding difficulties because of the conditions laid down in the form.