Tourism minister Helen Grant has been criticised for telling Brits affected by the passport processing delays that there’s a lot to be said for the ‘staycation’.
The Maidstone MP told House magazine that she was confident people will get their passports on time, but if they don’t want to go away “we have some fantastic places to visit and holiday not that far from here”.
She then went on to promote sporting events in the UK this year, including the Tour de France Grand Depart, the golf, Commonwealth Games, and the “football that we can watch on the TV”.
Her comments have been defended by her Tory colleagues, saying that as tourism minister, she is right to champion the domestic tourism market, but claim that she was in no way linking it to the passport backlog.
Her words, however, have angered consumer groups and the Public and Commercial Services Union, particularly as she is reportedly planning a holiday abroad in Spain later this year.
Richard Simcox, spokesman for the union commented: “It is incredibly unhelpful while people are desperately trying to get hold of their passports for ministers to be making this sort of glib remark.
“They should be focusing their efforts on sorting out the problem in the Passport Office. It is all very well for her to go off to Spain while suggesting people who can’t get hold of a passport should stay at home.”
Last week we posted advice for anyone urgently waiting for their passports.