THE fate of the Newport Passport Office is to be announced on Monday, the Argus can exclusively reveal.

Immigration minister Damian Green will tell Parliament its decision in a written statement at 10am, according to an e-mail to passport office staff sent yesterday.

At the same time Identity & Passport Service chief executive Sarah Rapson will break the news to staff at the office in person.

Gwent politicians last night made a last-ditch appeal to keep the office open, with the leader of Newport council saying he hoped “common sense would prevail”.

The Argus has campaigned against the proposal, which was announced in October and could see 300 people losing their jobs, and gathered a petition of more than 27,000 names, which we handed into 10 Downing Street.

Matthew Evans, Newport council leader, last night appealed to IPS to drop the proposals: “Even at this late stage, I would urge IPS to keep the office fully open.

“I hope that common sense will prevail and the right decision is made – that the passport office must stay in Newport,” he said.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden said: “I just hope the announcement on Monday will say the office will remain open, and save jobs of the loyal, hard-working staff.”

Newport West MP Paul Flynn said: “It’s unfair to lose so many jobs in Newport and it’s not the most efficient way of making the changes that are necessary.

Anne-Louise McKeon- Williams, branch secretary with the Public & Commercial Services (PCS) union, said as a member of the consultation panel she saw no justification for the closure at all.

She added: “I am planning for the worst and hoping for the best.” An IPS spokesman said: “It is only right our staff are first to hear the outcome of this process.

We will respond to the consultation on Monday (May 23) when managers make an announcement to staff.”