Dad travels 300 miles from Taunton to Durham to track down missing passport to save family holiday

Ian Williams tells ITV News Tyne Tees at some point the passport even inexplicably turned up in Liverpool.

A dad has travelled through the night to get his hands on his daughter's passport, in a bid to save his long-awaited family holiday from being ruined.

Ian Williams, from Taunton in Somerset, applied for a renewal passport, along with his daughter, on 29 April.

Mr Williams' passport arrived eight days later. But his daughter's failed to arrive.

Following guidance, he waited 10 weeks before making contact with HM Passport Office, who told him he could escalate the application - which takes another two weeks.

Mr Williams and his family are hoping to travel to the Philippines in the coming weeks to visit family - a trip they have had booked for three years.

But the family have found themselves joining a queue as passport officials admit mounting delays are causing backlogs that could take months to resolve - threatening many Brits' summer holiday plans.

In a desperate bid to get hold of his daughter’s missing document he drove north for seven hours from Taunton to Durham.

After the 300-mile trip he arrived first thing on Friday morning (22 July) when a queue was already forming outside the site in Durham. 

Mr Williams decided the trip was his only option and turned up at the passport office despite not having an appointment.

Mr Williams said: “When we applied it was sent to Liverpool now for some reason it is in Durham.

"People in the queue are desperate for their passports. Some are going on holiday on Monday. They have no answers.

"All you get when you phone up is ‘we will contact you within 72 hours’ but they never phone you.”

In response, an HM Passport Office spokesperson said: “Between March and May, we processed approximately three million applications, with 97.7% of applications processed within that timeframe in the first half of the year.

"We cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling."

Delays in processing passport applications could continue over the summer and may not improve before the end of the year, MPs were told this week.

More than 550,000 passports were waiting to be dealt with at the end of June and it is still taking around 10 weeks to process 10% (around 55,000) of applications instead of the standard three weeks, the Commons Home Affairs Committee was told.

HM Passport Office director Thomas Greig said turnaround times may not return to normal for another “few months”, leaving some travellers facing the prospect of long waits for identity documents continuing over the summer.

When asked by MPs on Wednesday when the situation could change, and if the wait time would return to three weeks by the end of the year, Mr Greig said: “I don’t think I can guarantee that.”

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