Nick Clegg to investigate Liverpool passport staff

Nick Clegg is to examine the cases of four Liverpool passport workers sacked after it emerged they had been given permanent contracts by mistake.

Ten other permanent staff were switched to temporary jobs as a result of the blunder at the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) on Old Hall Street.

Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, Stephen Twigg, is demanding the sacked employees be re-instated immediately.

The deputy prime minister told the Commons he would look into the cases.

'Conviction and passion'

Mr Twigg said: "Last month my constituent Christina O'Brien was one of four Liverpool passport office workers dismissed because they had been given a permanent contract by mistake.

"Ten others were switched to temporary contracts. Will the deputy prime minister pursue this appalling treatment of these hard-working employees with the Home Office?

"They have done nothing wrong and they deserve to get their jobs back."

Mr Clegg said in reply: "He speaks with great conviction and passion about the fate of his constituents and of course I will be very happy to receive further information from him and look into the case that he raises."

The affected staff were recruited up to two years ago through a scheme which opened up jobs to friends and family of existing staff.

But despite undergoing interviews, under civil service rules they should have been offered temporary and not permanent employment.

When an audit by the IPS discovered that 14 had been taken on permanently, the four who had already been working for two years - the maximum fixed-term contract - were told to leave.

The remaining 10 staff have been offered temporary contracts up to September.

The IPS has apologised for the error and said it will investigate.

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