Afghan refugee, 11, mistakenly sent to France instead of UK, Harrow East MP says

'The bureaucracy is a nightmare. We need to get this resolved,' said MP Bob Blackman

An 11-year-old refugee was mistakenly sent to France instead of the UK where he had been due to be reunited with his family, a Conservative MP has said.

The boy is still in France, Tory MP Bob Blackman said, as he criticised Home Office services, including delays with biometric cards which he said had led to one of his constituents being stuck in Turkey since Christmas.

“It just can’t go on like this,” Mr Blackman said, adding: “The bureaucracy is a nightmare.”

The MP for Harrow East was speaking during the House of Commons summer adjournment debate.

'This has got to change'

Speaking about issues with passport applications, he said: “There seems to be a case where even people who have paid for the priority service are not actually getting the service within the timeframe, and that’s scandalous.

Conservative MP Bob Blackman seen during a previous video call

“Equally there seems to be a lack of co-ordination and communication because the Home Office says one thing to the constituent and another thing to my office, and that can’t be right. And yesterday at the hub in Portcullis House, staffers were waiting up to four hours to be able to see people.

“It just can’t go on like this.

“And we’ve even had delays with the biometric cards and applications where one constituent has been stuck in Turkey since Christmas, waiting, and they can’t get home to be with their family.

“This has got to change and it’s got to be clear.

“On the position of refugees, we’ve got cases of Afghan refugees – still 12,000 Afghan refugees stuck in hotels.

“We have one case of an 11-year-old boy who was unfortunately put on a plane to France instead of the UK. He’s still in France and hasn’t been reunited with his family.

“The bureaucracy is a nightmare. We need to get this resolved.”

Commons deputy leader Peter Bone said he would write to the relevant minister for all issues raised by MPs during the debate, adding the Home Office “will have heard the remarks” about delays and other issues raised by a number of MPs.

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