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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 16 August 2018

Brexit to turn British passports blue

British passports, which are currently burgundy and bear EU markings, will be redesigned after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019

British passports will be changed back to a blue and gold design. Getty images
British passports will be changed back to a blue and gold design. Getty images

British passports will be changed back to a blue and gold design after the UK leaves the European Union, Britain’s Immigration Minister announced on Friday.

Currently British passports are burgundy, a colour which was adopted in 1988 to fit in with European requirements, and bear EU markings.

The burgundy passports will be gradually phased out from March 2019 when Britain leaves the bloc and new passports issued from this date will not have any EU markings.

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However, the blue design will not come into production until October 2019, when the contract for the current producers of the passports runs out.

"One of the most iconic things about being British is having a British passport,” Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said. “So from the first day we leave, new passports will look different and within months they will be very different, because they will be dark blue again.

The current burgundy British passport. Getty Images
The current burgundy British passport. Getty Images

"We wanted to return to the dark blue passport because we recognise the strong attachment people had to it."

The move has been celebrated by backers of the Leave vote in the 2016 referendum who believe changing passports will bring back Britain’s national identity.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, for whom the burgundy passport has long been a source of contention, told LBC radio: “Taking off the words “European Union” matters more than the colour. But going back to the navy blue colour says that normal service has been resumed and we can be a proper country again.”

However, pro-Remain backers disputed its significance with Labour MP Chuka Umunna referencing the £350m a week promise for the NHS made on a Leave bus.

While on Twitter, a picture was widely shared of other countries in Europe which have a dark blue cover, similar to the one Britain once had.

Concern was raised in the Commons by a Conservative MP that the new passports could still be designed and printed in the EU.

Marc Pritchard said: "Does the Leader of the House share my concern that the new British passport from 2019, a black passport not a purple passport, could be designed and printed in Germany.

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

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