Blue passports may make a return under Home Office £500-million post-Brexit redesign

Laura Hughes
The old blue passport began being phased out in 1988  - HABARI - FOTOLIA

The traditional blue British passport could make a return as part of a £500-million post-Brexit redesign.  

The Government has put the multi-million-pound contract out to tender for the “design, production and personalisation of the UK passport” after 2019. 

There have been growing calls for the old navy documents to be reintroduced following Brexit.

Since 1920 Britons had a simpler passport with a dark blue cover; but it was replaced by the EU's preferred burgundy-coloured format in late 1988.

High-level discussions have already taken place with potential bidders for the contract, according to the Sunday Express. 

The current contract expires in 2019, the year the UK is set to leave the European Union, after Theresa May began the formal two-year withdrawal process last week.

An old British passport (left) and a burgundy UK passport in the European Union style format Credit: PA 

Robert Goodwill, the Home Office Minister, suggested last year that the department was “considering potential changes”.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, chairman of the Flags and Heraldry Committee, told the paper: “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.” 

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Last month Tory MP Michael Fabricant met with a 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.” 

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.”

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