HC Deb 23 December 1976 vol 923 cc894-5
10. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give his attention to a complaint from Mr. Malcolm Gregory of 16 Mereland Way, St. Helens, about his claim against his Department regarding non-return of a passport on the grounds of neglect of departmental duties in providing a public service; if he will specify the correspondence and documents received by his Department from both the hon. Member for St. Helens and his constituent, Mr. Malcolm Gregory; and whether he has replied.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dr. Shirley Summerskill)

Mr. Gregory has written twice and answers have been sent, but I very much regret that on the first of these occasions there was delay within the Department. Mr. Gregory in his second letter says he was put to extra expense as a result, and we have said that we shall be prepared to consider paying him compensation if he will produce appropriate documents to substantiate the amount claimed.

Mr. Spriggs

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for her reply. Is she aware that Mr. Gregory, on behalf of his guest, a young girl from Poland, applied for the return of the passport two weeks before the date of the girl's flight back home to Warsaw? As he did not receive the passport in time, the young girl had to overstay as the ticket was no longer valid after a particular date. In view of what my hon. Friend said, I do not propose to take the matter further until I hear from my constituent.

Dr. Summerskill

I very much regret the inconvenience that was caused to the young lady. At the time, an unprecedented number of passports had been received in the Immigration and Nationality Department—double the normal number. Far from there being an increase in the staff of that Department to cope with this extra work, there has been an 8 per cent. reduction in the past year.