HOLIDAYMAKERS are being advised to apply for passports well in advance to ensure they do not miss out on holidays abroad.

Runcorn MP Mike Amesbury says staff shortages at the Passport Office plus a surge in applications is causing delays that are putting some overseas trips in jeopardy.

This is in addition to the chaos being regularly seen at Manchester Airport over recent weeks and months, with long delays and flight cancellations.

The Labour MP says he has received dozens of emails from Weaver Vale residents hoping he can help their holiday situations.

“My team is inundated with pleas for help from frantic constituents due to go on holiday imminently but facing delays in getting passport applications and renewals processed,” Mr Amesbury said.

“More people than usual have been looking forward to a well-earned break abroad as Covid restrictions are finally lifted – only to discover it could now be threatened by this passport issue.

“In a couple of cases, children have been upset fearing they might not be able to take part in once-in-a-lifetime international sports tournaments.”

Boris Johnson was greeted with groans on telling MPs that to the best of his knowledge, people were getting their passports ‘within four to six weeks’.

Mr Amesbury commented: “Even Tory MPs rolled their eyes because we all know it is not true.

“I believe it is down to understaffing at the Passport Office and a spike in applications.

“People are keen to get away as the world opens up again, and in some cases, folk are taking up holidays postponed due to the pandemic. They have checked their passport and realised it needs renewing.

“But this is a situation that was easily anticipated. Government ministers knew there would be a surge but did nothing to ensure the country was prepared. It is unacceptable.”

The Passport Office advises travellers to apply at least 10 weeks in advance. If you are prepared to pay a larger fee, then you can use the fast track or premium service to get your passport quicker.

For anyone who already has a passport, it is a good idea to check you have enough time left on your passport to comply with rules in the country you will be visiting.

To enter the EU on a British passport, it must have been issued in the past 10 years at the time of entry and be valid for at least three months on the date you exit the EU.