British passports to go blue again after Brexit

‘Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity,’ UK minister says

Picture of an old British passport (left) and a burgundy UK passport in the European Union style format. Photograph: PA Wire

Picture of an old British passport (left) and a burgundy UK passport in the European Union style format. Photograph: PA Wire

 

British passports will return to having blue covers after Brexit, it has been confirmed.

The new design, which will no longer include the European Union insignia, will replace the burgundy cover that has been a feature of the UK passport since the 1980s once Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Home office minister Brandon Lewis said the new passport will be the “most high-tech and secure we have ever seen”, making it more resistant to fraud and forgery.

A £490 million contract to redesign and produce a new version of the document was announced earlier this year.

The passport is routinely redesigned every five years and Eurosceptics view the new contract as a way to ditch the EU burgundy cover in favour of a return to the colour of the past.

Mr Lewis 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 new passports will be phased in after the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

Photograph issued by the home office of how a British passport will look after Brexit. Photograph: Home Office/PA Wire
Photograph issued by the home office of how a British passport will look after Brexit. Photograph: Home Office/PA Wire

Burgundy passports will continue to be issued, although without the European Union markings, until the current supplier’s contract expires in October 2019.

The new blue and gold design will then be issued to people renewing or applying for a new passport.

Blue was first used for the cover of the British passport in 1921, but the design changed in 1988 after the UK joined the European Economic Community and burgundy was chosen as the common colour.

Among the new design features will be a new picture page made of a “super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter”, the Home Office said.

British passport holders do not need to do anything until their renewal date.

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, a Remain supporter, 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.”

Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: “A new passport that make holidays more expensive, limits where people can work or study & costs billions.” –PA