Extra staff drafted into Belfast Passport Office to tackle demand
Additional staff have been drafted into the Belfast Passport Office to tackle an unprecedented demand for new British passports and renewals.
The Home Office would not confirm how many staff were deployed and how many people in Northern Ireland were currently waiting on their passports above the normal three-week delivery return.
A leaked internal briefing note was reported to have advised Belfast to ease off some of the normal checks to speed up delivery.
This was later rescinded as it was discovered that ministers had not approved this step.
However, HMPO is taking urgent steps to tackle the passport logjam.
Last night a Home Office spokeswoman said: "We cannot give a breakdown on how many people in Northern Ireland are currently waiting for their passports beyond the three weeks as this is a national problem, not a problem just in Belfast."