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Friday, 22 December 2017

'Happy Brexmas!': News that we'll get #bluepassports again sets Twitter ablaze but not everyone is happy (while EU rules mean they may be printed in Germany or France)


  • The EU-approved burgundy document was controversially introduced in 1988
  • Home Office confirms that it will be scrapped when we leave on March 29, 2019
  • The blue and gold documents to be issued for new passports from October 2019
  • Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said change will symbolise our sovereignty


  • The return of the traditional blue British passport divided opinion today, with Brexiteers celebrating but Remainers expressing anger online.  
    The dark blue document will make a return from 2019 in a move the government hope will symbolise the reclaiming the UK's national identity.
    The plans sparked a huge debate online, with #bluepassport, the top trending hashtag on Twitter in the UK this afternoon.
    Many said they 'can't wait' to get their hands on the old-style document and welcomed it as the first symbolic change from Britain leaving the EU.
    But the plans sparked an angry backlash from remain supporters, who said the passport would be studied in longer queues they predict at borders as they mocked those who are happy about the change.
    Nicola Sturgeon was among those hitting out, branding the move 'inward-looking' and 'nonsense'.
    But Piers Morgan, the DailyMail.com US Editor-in-chief, countered, tweeting: 'Imagine feeling genuinely enraged by the colour of a passport?  Remoaners have lost their minds almost as insanely as anti-Trumpers. Calm down snowflakes! It’s Christmas.' 


    British passports will return to their traditional blue after Brexit


    The plan for the new-look travel documents are part of a £490million contract being offered by the Home Office, which has invited firms to apply to design and produce the new documents.
    The government has stressed the cost would have been incurred anyway due to the current contract ending, and is not a cost of Brexit.
    But the tender must be held under EU rules, meaning French and German companies will battle it out with British security company De La Rue for the contract. The Government will announced the winner in the new year. 


    The new blue and gold travel documents will be issued to those renewing or applying for a new passport from October 2019.  
    Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage celebrated the news on Twitter this morning, tweeting: 'Happy Brexmas!'
    He added: 'In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back. Now we've got them back!'

    The blue British passport, like the traditional document pictured left, will make a return in a move to reclaim Britain's 'national identity', the immigration minister said
    The blue British passport, like the traditional document pictured left, will make a return in a move to reclaim Britain's 'national identity', the immigration minister said

    The European Union-approved burgundy document was controversially introduced in 1988.
    But the Home Office has confirmed it will be scrapped when we leave on March 29, 2019.
    They will gradually be phased out so those with existing passports will not have to change them until they expire.
    Burgundy-coloured new passports will still be issued without any EU insignia on them until the current passport contract expires five months after Brexit.
    Tory MP Andrew Rosindell tweeted: 'A great Christmas present for those who care about our national identity - the fanatical Remainers hate it, but the restoration of our own British passport is a powerful symbol that Britain is Back!'

    Nigel Farage celebrated the moveTory rebel Anna Soubry poured cold water on the idea

    Nigel Farage celebrated the move, but Tory rebel Anna Soubry poured cold water on the idea
    Fellow Conservative Michael Fabricant added : 'Our passport is an iconic statement of our nationality. The return to our traditional dark blue after Brexit is a restatement of our nation regaining it's sovereignty and I welcome it.
    'We would have had to change our passports anyway to remove mention of the EU and to update its security features. So changing the colour back to dark blue is a relatively simple matter with no cost to the taxpayer.'

    Could EU laws mean new British passports are made in Europe? 

    The company which produces passports for British citizens is UK money and security printing firm De Le Rue in Gateshead.
    But the contract for who produces them is due to expire soon and, due to EU rules, a French and a German firm have also entered tenders.
    Martin Sutherland, De Le Rue's chief executive, has spoken of his hopes the documents will be made in Britain.
    He told the Telegraph: 'We have submitted our bid for the renewal, which is in 2019 and will last for 10 years.
    'It would be a shame if in the year of Brexit the contract was lost and the British passport was not printed by a British company.'
    Announcing the change of colour, immigration minister Brandon Lewis said it was a change to symbolise our sovereignty.
    He said: 'Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world.
    'That is why I am delighted to announce that the British passport will be returning to the iconic blue and gold design after we have left the European Union in 2019.
    'It will also be one of the most secure travel documents in the world, with a raft of new security measures to protect against fraud and forgery.'
    The design will feature the Queen's 'Dieu et Mon Droit' crest on its front in gold, instead of EU markings, while the pages inside will be decorated with patriotic UK scenes.
    But not everyone is impressed with the idea. 
    Rebel Tory MP Anna Soubry tweeted: 'Stand by for street parties as blue passports return. Not sure they'll make up for broken #Leave promise of extra £350m a week for £NHS.'  
    Costing citizens £72.50 - the same as current passports, they will feature improved security features to protect against forgery, including a biometric microchip.
    The current paper-based picture page will be replaced with a new, super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter.
    The current European Union-approved burgundy document (pictured) was controversially introduced in 1988
    The current European Union-approved burgundy document (pictured) was controversially introduced in 1988

    The 'Old Blue' passport was introduced in 1920, but in 1981 Brussels demanded all member states should have a 'European' passport within four years.
    In 2000 the UK fought off a plan to remove the Queen's crest from the passport and possibly introduce the 12-star EU logo on its cover.
    And in 2007, Brussels tried to remove the phrase 'Her Britannic Majesty' from the documents.
    Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said the change symbolised our sovereignty
    Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said the change symbolised our sovereignty
    There have been numerous calls for the new passport to return to the dark blue colour after Brexit.
    Mr Lewis told The Sun: 'One of the most iconic things about being British is having a British passport.
    'I recognise that for many people who voted in that referendum, they want to see things that are different. One of the most iconic things about being British is having a British passport.
    'So from the first day we leave, new passports will look different and within five months they will be very different, because they will be dark blue again.'
    The cabinet minister added: 'We wanted to return to the dark blue passport because we recognise the string attachment people had to it.' 


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