Ministers Move to Prevent Relaxation of UK Passport Checks

THE GUARDIAN – Ministers were forced to intervene in the working of the chaotic Passport Office after the Guardian revealed that managers had ordered staff to relax security checks on applicants for British passports from abroad in an effort to reduce a backlog of at least 30,000 applications.

A briefing note sent to staff on Monday told Passport Office workers to drop checks on countersignatories, as well as requirements for evidence of addresses and letters of confirmation from employers and accountants.

An hour after the leaked document was published on the Guardian’s website on Wednesday night, the Home Office issued a terse statement saying that ministers had no knowledge of the instructions and had ordered managers at the Passport Office to withdraw it immediately.

The intervention will be an acute embarrassment to the home secretary,Theresa May, who has until now tried to maintain that she has been on top of the situation within the Passport Office.

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