Sunday, April 2, 2017
First Visible Sign That Brexit Has Occurred
True blue passport REBORN: £500 million project will replace EU document post-Brexit
BRITAIN’S iconic dark blue passports are set to make a return as part of a £500million post-Brexit redesign.
Since the historic referendum result in June last year, patriotic MPs have been calling for the rebirth of the dark blue passport as a symbol of the UK regaining sovereignty from the EU.
They want to see the burgundy passports, which have previously been described as a source of national humiliation, ditched after Britain was forced to adopt the uniform design by the EU back in 1988.
The Home Office has invited businesses to apply for the £490million redesign project.
The Home Office has invited businesses to apply for the redesign project
The new passports will come into existence in 2019, the year Britain leaves the EU.
As we get our sovereignty back, I’m looking forward to getting my British passport back too
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, chairman of the Flags and Heraldry Committee, said: “It’s a matter of identity. Having the pink European passports has been a source of humiliation. It merged us into one European identity, which isn’t what we are.
“The old dark blue design was a distinct, clear and bold statement of what it means to be British, which is just what our citizens need as they travel abroad after Brexit.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “As we get our sovereignty back, I’m looking forward to getting my British passport back too.”
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Ukip leader Paul Nuttall also welcomed the post-Brexit redesign.
He said: “It’s great news. Getting rid of the burgundy passports will be a clear sign we have finally got our country back.”
The growing clamour among the public to ditch the EU-imposed passport for the true blue UK version was summed up by Vote Leave campaigner Liz Hurley.
The actress wrote: “I yearn for the days when my (gorgeous navy blue) passport got stamped when I went anywhere in Europe and I loved puzzling over fistfuls of Italian lire, French francs and Deutschmarks. It was glamorous and exciting.”
The “Old Blue” passport was introduced in 1920. Six years later the League of Nations, forerunner of the United Nations, described the elegant British design as “perfection itself”.
The new passports will come into existence in 2019, the year Britain leaves the EU
But in 1981, eight years after we joined the EU, Brussels demanded all member states should have a “European” passport within four years. Britain resisted until 1988.
The change led to howls of protest in Britain and cost taxpayers £1.5million. In 2000 the UK had to fight off a plan to remove the Queen’s crest from the passport and introduce the 12-star EU logo on its cover.
In 2007, Brussels tried to make our passports “more European” by removing the phrase “Her Britannic Majesty”. Six million passports are issued by the UK Passport Office a year.
They cost £72.50 each and are made by private security firm De La Rue, which also designs and prints UK banknotes.
The firm signed a £400million deal in 2010 to produce UK passports for the next 10 years.
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The contract, which has already delivered 30 million passports, is due to expire in 2019. As part of its tender, De La Rue is expected to undertake major design changes to the passport to combat identity fraud.
Last month Tory MP Michael Fabricant met with the firm’s representatives to discuss the redesign.
He said: “They say the lion and unicorn crest in gold will contrast better on navy blue than it currently does on the maroon passports, which in my opinion have been inflicted upon us by Brussels.
“Passports are regularly updated to avoid forgery and post-Brexit it has to be changed anyway to have the words European Union removed. Given that there’s going to be a re-design anyway, it won’t cost the Treasury an extra penny to change the colour back to the traditional dark navy blue.”
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall welcomed the post-Brexit redesign and said it was ’great news’
He added Britons will only have to pay for a new passport when their old one expires, regardless of whether or not Britain had left the EU by then.
The successful firm will produce six million passports a year with the contract running for a decade.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are launching the procurement process now to ensure there is sufficient time to produce and design UK passports from 2019 when the current contract ends.
“The timing of any potential changes to the passport after the UK has left the EU has not been set.”