Foreign secretary William Hague has slammed expats and tourists for their abuse of the Embassy when abroad, calling some of their requests ‘ludicrous’ and accusing them of wasting the consular resources with their ‘bizarre demands’. Some of the inquiries include help with plastic surgery complications, advice on places to eat in Spain, and even assistance with dental problems, such as where to find false teeth. Although, quite why someone would expect the British Embassy to help them locate a missing set of dentures remains something of a mystery.
In a speech about strengthening Britain’s consular diplomacy, Mr Hague wanted to make it clear to the millions of tourists who visit foreign climes each year, and the six million that live abroad, that the British Consulate was not a personal service that was there to help with anything and everything. He said that there was an ‘immense demand’ on the Embassy at all times, and urged British nationals to ‘be responsible, to be self-reliant and to take sensible precautions.’
Mr Hague suggested that it might be obvious to most people that this is not what the Embassy is there for, but ‘it came as a surprise’ to a lot of callers making strange requests in countries all over the world. ‘It is not our job’, he insisted, ‘[to help] If you are having difficulty erecting a new chicken coop in your garden in Greece. I have to say that we are not the people to turn to if you can’t find your false teeth, if you are unhappy with your plastic surgery… or if you want someone to throw a coin into the Trevi fountain for you because you `forgot.’