Britain's post-EU passports to be made by Paris-based firm, Brexit supporters call it 'national humiliation'

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

AFP March 22, 2018 21:36:34 IST
Britain's post-EU passports to be made by Paris-based firm, Brexit supporters call it 'national humiliation'

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

The Daily Telegraph newspaper said the next contract to produce British passports would be awarded to Gemalto, while the head of UK manufacturer De La Rue said he had been told his company had lost out to the Franco-Dutch firm.

De La Rue boss Martin Sutherland said it was "disappointing and surprising" that "this icon of British identity" would be manufactured by a foreign company.

"We've had that confirmed to us by the Home Office," he told BBC radio in reference to Britain's interior ministry, though the government said the process had not concluded.

Sutherland said he wanted to invite British Prime Minister Theresa May to his factory and explain "why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon".

Britains postEU passports to be made by Parisbased firm Brexit supporters call it national humiliation

File image of the old British passport. Reuters

The Daily Telegraph said Gemalto undercut other bids by around £50 million (USD 70 million, 58 million euros).

Priti Patel, a figurehead of the pro-Brexit campaign in Britain's 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU, said: "The return of our iconic blue passport will re-establish the British identity.

"But to be putting the job in the hands of the French is simply astonishing. It is a national humiliation," the former cabinet minister told The Sun newspaper.

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

UK passports had dark blue covers from 1921. But Britain switched to burgundy from 1988, in common with other passports of what was then the European Community.

Britain is set to leave the EU in March 2019. The new passport production contract starts in October 2019.

A spokesman for May's Downing Street office said: "We are still in the process of running a fair and open competition to ensure that the new contract delivers a high-quality product which offers the best value for money for the taxpayer."

Gemalto declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

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

"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.

Updated Date:

also read

India-made Covaxin now on United Kingdom’s approved travel list
India

India-made Covaxin now on United Kingdom’s approved travel list

Earlier this month, the Bharat Biotech manufactured Covaxin, the second most used formulation in India, had received its WHO EUL status

Explained: What's happening on the Poland-Belarus border and who orchestrated the migrant crisis?
World

Explained: What's happening on the Poland-Belarus border and who orchestrated the migrant crisis?

It appears to be an orchestrated crisis, created by Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus's autocratic ruler, to cause trouble for the European Union in retaliation for a series of sanctions against his government. Lukashenko, however, denied the allegation

Europe seeks new leader as bloc prepares for post-Angela Merkel era
World

Europe seeks new leader as bloc prepares for post-Angela Merkel era

Analysts have warned that none may be immediately capable of assuming the task, given the European Union's myriad challenges — ranging from internal disputes to the after-shocks of Brexit