UK passports Brexit

The UK’s new blue passports will be made in France

The new passports were being used as a symbol of Brexit, but Brexit supporters aren't happy

The contract to make the UK's new blue passports has reportedly been won by a French firm.

What it means: The passports have become a symbol of Britain 'taking back control' after Brexit. Passports in the UK were navy blue until 1988 when they changed to burgundy to match others in the EU – incidentally, the burgundy passports aren't obligatory for EU members, but after the Brexit vote it was announced they would return to the original colours.

But the boss of the current passport's manufacturers told the BBC they'd lost out on the contract to a French company, Gemalto.

He said: "We have heard ministers happy to come on and talk about the new blue passport and the fact that it is an icon of British identity. But now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France.

The Home Office (which is responsible for issuing passports) said there is nothing that says the passports have to be made by a British company, and the French company has said they'll make them for £50m less than the existing manufacturers.

This is about competition – being on an 'open market' means the people who can make things at the highest quality, with the best value-for-money, are likely to win wherever they are based. But it's also about attitudes to international trade. Take the US, for example. Donald Trump has the opposite stance. It's called a 'protectionist' attitude – that means choosing American businesses before foreign ones, and charging 'tariffs' on things imported from abroad.

Learn more about the different attitudes to trade

Read the full story (BBC News)

Recent articles

Reader Comments