Brexit-backing Tories fear blue passports will be made abroad
Leave-backing Tories have demanded that blue British passports which will be reintroduced after Brexit are made in the UK.
Theresa May has hailed the move to bring back blue travel documents as an expression of the UK’s post-Brexit “sovereignty and independence”, although Nicola Sturgeon described them as “insular, inward looking, nonsense”.
Now arch-Brexiteer Tory MPs have demanded they are manufactured in Britain.
Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted: “Symbolism is important and I hope it will be printed in the UK too.”
And Andrew Bridgen told the Daily Mail: “Passports are symbolic of our national identity and sovereignty and of course they should be manufactured in the UK.”
Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon publicly clashed with the Prime Minister after the Home Office announced that British passports will again have blue covers once the UK has left the EU in 2019.
The new design, which will no longer include the EU insignia, will replace the EU-style burgundy cover that has been a feature of the UK passport since the 1980s.
Mrs May tweeted: “The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty - symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation.
“That’s why we have announced that the iconic #bluepassport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019.”
That prompted Ms Sturgeon to tweet back: “The open, inclusive, civic, internationalist Scottish independence movement that I’m so proud to be part of could not be further removed from this insular, inward looking, blue passport-obsessed nonsense.
“Never has ‘stop the world, Scotland wants to get on’ felt more relevant.”
Announcing the change, Home Office minister Brandon Lewis said the new passport would be the “most high-tech and secure we have ever seen”.
It follows the announcement earlier this year of a £490 million contract to redesign and produce a new version of the document.
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.
The new passports will be phased in after the UK leaves the EU on March 29 2019.
Burgundy passports will continue to be issued, although without the European Union markings, until the current supplier’s contract expires in October 2019.
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 picture page made of a “super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter”, the Home Office said.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told ITV News during a visit to Moscow: “I think it’s a wonderful thing if people want to have a blue passport again.
“I remember a sense of personal loss and outrage when they were taken away.
“I can’t understand why it happened and I remember when Jacques Delors, the former president of the European Commission, said he wanted to calm the British people down, he said, ‘We will give you back the blue passport’ and they never did. Finally it’s happened.”