British passports will go back to blue after Brexit, ditching EU burgundy

British passports will change to a blue and gold design after Brexit, Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis has announced.

Once the UK has left the European Union, passports will no longer conform to EU standards.

In a move to symbolise the UK's national identity, the cover will change from the current burgundy colour to navy blue, which was the colour of the first UK passport to come in the form of a book in 1921.

The design was changed to burgundy after the UK joined the European Union.

While it has never been a legal requirement for EU countries to have the same burgundy travel document, most have agreed to do so as part of efforts to forge a collective identity.

The Government says the new blue UK passport will be one of the most secure travel documents in the world, with new features to protect against fraud and forgery.

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The current paper-based picture page on the burgundy passports will be replaced with a new, super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter.

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."

The new passports will be introduced in phases which, he said, will save the UK taxpayer money.

After Brexit, burgundy passports will still be issued but will not say European Union at the top or make reference to the EU inside.

A Conservative MP has expressed concerns after it emerged the new British passports could be made in the EU.

Mark Pritchard told the Commons he understood the new UK passport could be "designed and printed" in Berlin, Germany, from 2019.

The Wrekin MP, during business questions, called for a debate on the matter.

He said: "Does the Leader of the House share my concern that the new British passport from 2019... could be designed and printed in Germany?

"Made in Berlin, rather than made in Britain."

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said: "What I can say to him is that we all support the UK's stance as a global free trading nation.

"At the same time we recognise that Britain has a huge amount to offer in terms of our manufacturing, our food, drink and all manner of services that we provide to the world.

"We can compete on a level playing field."

A lively debate erupted on Twitter following the Government's announcement, with many pro-remain supporters attacking the plans.

Among those to pour scorn on the plan was Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said bringing back the blue cover for the British passport was "insular, inward looking, nonsense".

Theresa 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."

Ms Sturgeon retaliated: "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."

The new blue passports will be issued from October 2019 to those renewing or applying for a new passport.

British passport holders don't need to do anything ahead of their current passport renewal date.

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