Hailed by Brexiteers as a triumphant symbol of a return to the days of independence from the EU, the new-style blue British passports could be made in France or Germany, it has been claimed.
Two foreign firms have reportedly been shortlisted alongside British company De La Rou by the Home Office to manufacture the new passports ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019.
The £450 million contract was tendered out by the Government immediately after Article 50 was triggered in March, with the winner expected to be announced by this Christmas.
Navy blue British passports were first produced in 1920, and for many from the older generations, the true British passport will always be blue.
Younger people, however, have no memory of the blue-style ones, as the burgundy passport was introduced to the UK in 1988, some 15 years after Britain joined the trading block, with “European Community” emblazoned on the front, later replaced with “European Union”.
The prospect of the new-style navy ones being made in France or Germany - as The Sunday Times reports - is said to have some Brexiteer MPs seeing red.
Tory Eurosceptic MP Andrew Bridgen told The Sunday Times he found the prospect almost farcical.
“While I want to see the Government achieving the best value for money, it would be ludicrous if our passports were made in Europe.”
The Home Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.