New passport for post-Brexit Britain turns into French farce

May and Juncker

GETTYTheresa May has been told to let the EU know the UK will not compromise any further

The 10-year contract will run from 2019 and comes after prime minister Theresa May said British passports would be the colour Britain wanted and not what the European Union wanted: "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".

But many viewed a French company bagging the rights to produce British passports ahead of the UK's De La Rue which is now holding the contracts is ironical for it would mean the symbol of British sovereignty was still tied with a country which is a member of the EU.

However, pro-Brexit former cabinet minister Priti Patel said the decision to make the passport overseas was "disgraceful" and "perverse".

So the news that it will be a French company rather than a British one producing them has left emotions running high.

He added: "I'd like to ask Theresa May or Amber Rudd to come to my factory and explain to our dedicated workforce why this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon".

"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 the blue passports are seen by many Brexit supporters as an iconic symbol of the country's independence from Europe. "It is a national humiliation".

The tender to produce the passport was put out across the European Union under single market rules.

A government minister, Matt Hancock, opened the way for a potential appeal after saying that the procurement process had not been completed.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake told the Press Association: "The blue passport saga is turning into a farce".

Existing passport holders will continue to use their existing burgundy passports until they expire.

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".

Mr Sutherland called on Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to explain the decision. "A proportion of blank passport books are now manufactured overseas, and there are no security or operational reasons why this would not continue". Now we learn that the passports will be printed by a foreign company.

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