A Labour motion, calling on the Government to offer compensation to passport applicants who had paid for urgent upgrades, has been defeated in the House of Commons 282 to 235 - a majority of 47.
Speaking in a debate on passport delays, the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, told the House of Commons:
– Theresa May MP, Home Secretary
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.
Ms May was speaking in a Commons opposition day debate called by Labour, in which many MPs highlighted the plight of constituents experiencing passport delays.
Home Secretary Theresa May has apologised to those affected by the recent delays to passport application.
"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," Ms May told MPs.
It follows an apology from the head of the Passport Office, Paul Pugh yesterday.
The Passport Office chief executive Paul Pugh said the agency was facing a challenging situation the like of which has not been seen in recent years, after apologising for the delays.
He said the Passport Office is dealing with 480,000 applications. Around 90% are being processed within targeted time.
The head of the Passport Office has apologised to applicants who have suffered delays after coming under considerable pressure from MPs over a backlog crisis at the agency.
Paul Pugh, chief executive of HM Passport Office, said: "I absolutely recognise the anger and distress that some people have suffered and I would like to put on record that yes, where we haven't been able to meet the customer's needs, yes, certainly, we are sorry for that."
Mr Pugh also confirmed figures provided earlier to the Committee by Mike Jones, Home Office group secretary at the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), that as of yesterday around 480,000 passport applications were logged as work in progress at the agency.
After weeks of public anger, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a raft of measures aimed at clearing the backlog including dropping fast-track processing fees for passport applicants who need to travel urgently and 12-month extensions for people renewing their UK passports from overseas.
The Passport Office estimated a year ago that applications would surge by as much as 350,000 this summer because of overseas embassies shutting their passport desks and transferring operations to Britain, according to a report.
– Labour MP Keith Vaz, the home affairs committee chairman
The HM Passport Office is in chaos and the Home Secretary's urgent action shows the true scale of the problem.
The agency needs to ensure that these measures are implemented as quickly as possible. Whilst it is important that every possible step is taken to reduce these delays, it is irresponsible to override security measures.
We will be asking Mr Pugh for a full explanation of what has happened and specifically how these emergency measures are being put in place.
It is vital we have the full facts in order to understand whether this government agency is still fit for purpose.
After weeks of mounting public anger, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a raft of measures aimed at clearing the backlog.
The Passport Office boss faces a grilling from MPs today in the wake of thousands of people seeing their holiday plans put in jeopardy because of a backlog of applications.
The agency was accused of being in "chaos" and its head Paul Pugh will appear before the influential home affairs select committee to explain the long delays in handling cases.
The Passport Office has been accused of presiding over a shambles, and last week interviews for first-time applicants for passports were suspended in London as staff struggle to deal with the 30,000 backlog of applications, which are normally dealt with in three weeks.
A Home Office spokeswoman said it was normal practice during busy times to redirect people to passport offices outside of London, and that only a "handful" of people had been affected.