PASSPORT OFFICE: Minister’s apology after leaflet uproar

South Wales Argus: CAMPAIGN: Government plans for the passport office have led to protests on the streets of Newport CAMPAIGN: Government plans for the passport office have led to protests on the streets of Newport

A CABINET minister apologised after ‘redundancy leaflets’ were delivered to Newport Passport Office in full view of staff.

We exclusively revealed yesterday that campaigners fighting against the proposed closure of the branch were furious after the offending 36 boxes arrived in the staff foyer on Monday, despite workers currently remaining in the dark about whether or not the office will close.

I m m i g r a t i o n Minister Damian Green, who will make the decision, told Newport East MP Jessica Morden in an email sent late on Monday, “I am sorry if these leaflets caused any distress”.

But staff representative Anne-Louise McKeon-Williams hit back at the minister, saying the apology was “just paying lip service after the event”.

She said: “If he was really sorry the leaflets would have never been delivered.”

Ms McKeon-Williams, Public and Commercial Services union branch secretary, said the government should “hurry up and make their decision” and “put people out of their misery”.

“I think people have put their lives on hold for long enough,” she added.

The email came after Ms Morden wrote to the minister, asking him to investigate reports of the leaflets and confirm when the final decision will be made.

He told her it was not yet possible to give a date for any announcement.

Ms Morden said the incident was an example of how “shambolic” and “badly handled” the consultation process had been.

She added: “We will keep campaigning to urge them to change their minds.”

The Identity and Passport Service said on Monday that the leaflets dealt with voluntary redundancy and retirement and that new stocks were being circulated across the passport service’s regional offices.

The Argus is among those campaigning against proposals to shut the passport office, announced in October. A consultation process on the proposal closed in March.

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