Britain's blue passport may return in £500m post-Brexit redesign

The dark blue British passport and the more modern European Union British passport
The dark blue British passport and the more modern European Union British passport

The dark blue British passport could return as part of a £490 million redesign in the wake of Brexit.

The current contract expires in 2019, the year the UK is set to leave the European Union, following the triggering of Article 50 last week.

Eurosceptics believe this would be a perfect opportunity to return to the “traditional” blue passport, which was used for more than 70 years and dates back to 1921.

To some it is seen as part of British identity, but critics have branded a redesign as a waste of money at a time when public services are facing cuts.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said the burgundy passport — which he incorrectly identified as “pink — had been a source of national “humiliation”.

He told the Press Association: “The restoration of our own British passport is a clear statement to the world that Britain is back.

MORE: Bullfighter is gored through the mouth and tongue by 1,000lb animal
MORE: Outrage as NHS 111 ‘left suicidal callers on hold until they hung up’

“Our British identity was slowly but surely being submerged into an artificial European one that most Brits felt increasingly unhappy about.

“The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over and the United Kingdom nationals can once again feel pride and self-confidence in their own nationality when travelling, just as the Swiss and Americans can do.

“National identity matters and there is no better way of demonstrating this today than by bringing back this much-loved national symbol when travelling overseas.”

Michael Fabricant, another Conservative, said: “You keep your passport until it expires. If you renew after Brexit, I am hoping we’ll have new navy blue passports.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said of Mr Rosindell’s comments: “The real source of humiliation is a Government worrying about the colour of our passports while a social care and NHS crisis rages.”

The Home Office said no decision had been made about the new contract.

A spokesman said: “The UK passport is routinely redesigned every five years to guard against counterfeiting. 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 European Union has not been set.”