Published: Sun, March 25, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Britain's post-Brexit blue passport to be made by European Union firm

Britain's post-Brexit blue passport to be made by European Union firm

Britain's new, blue, post-EU passports are set to be made by a Paris-based firm, reports said today, in what leading Brexit supporters called a "national humiliation".

The Daily Telegraph says a Franco-Dutch firm is close to being awarded the contract to print the documents - which many see as a symbol of the UK's regained independence.

Tory MP and former global development secretary Priti Patel also raged that it amounted to a "national humiliation".

A British company which is thought to have been in the running issued a profits warning this week.

Tory MP Sir Bill Cash, chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, branded such a move "completely wrong and unnecessary".

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De La Rue, which has been designing and producing British passports under a 10-year contract worth -400 million ($566 million), said in a statement it was disappointed with the result of the tender process and would consider an appeal.

"I'm going to have face those workers, look at the whites of their eyes and try to explain to them why the government thinks it's a sensible decision to buy French passports and not British passports", he told the BBC.

"But to be putting the job in the hands of the French is simply astonishing".

Mr Sutherland said: "I think we have heard over the last few weeks and months ministers more than happy to come on the media and talk about the blue passports and the fact that the blue passport is an icon of British identity".

The Best for Britain campaign group, which wants to keep the door to European Union membership open, hit out at Brexit supporters unhappy at passports being produced by a foreign company.

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The episode is a potential source of embarrassment for the government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

The return of blue British passports in place of standard burgundy European Union ones is seen as a hugely symbolic reclamation of United Kingdom sovereignty for those backing Britain's exit from the bloc.

She said: "It is right that from autumn 2019 we will issue new blue and gold passports, which have always been the UK's colours of choice for our passports. A proportion of blank passport books are now manufactured overseas, and there are no security or operational reasons why this would not continue".

"All these Brexiteers claim to be champions of global free trade until it doesn't work out for their interests - at which point they magically transform into angry isolationists who don't back British firms to compete around the world", a spokesman said.

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